Changes in hydration status of elite Olympic class sailors in different climates and the effects of different fluid replacement beverages
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BACKGROUND: Olympic class sailing poses physiological challenges similar to other endurance sports such as cycling or running, with sport specific challenges of limited access to nutrition and hydration during competition. As changes in hydration status can impair sports performance, examining fluid consumption patterns and fluid/electrolyte requirements of Olympic class sailors is necessary to develop specific recommendations for these elite athletes. The purpose of this study was to examine if Olympic class sailors could maintain hydration status with self-regulated fluid consumption in cold conditions and the effect of fixed fluid intake on hydration status in warm conditions. METHODS: In our cold condition study (CCS), 11 elite Olympic class sailors were provided ad libitum access to three different drinks. Crystal Light (control, C); Gatorade (experimental control, G); and customized sailing-specific Infinit (experimental, IN) (1.0:0.22 CHO:PRO), were provided on three separate training days in cold 7.1°C [4.2 - 11.3]. Our warm condition study (WCS) examined the effect of fixed fluid intake (11.5 mL.kg.-1.h-1) of C, G and heat-specific experimental Infinit (INW)(1.0:0.074 CHO:PRO) on the hydration status of eight elite Olympic Laser class sailors in 19.5°C [17.0 - 23.3]. Both studies used a completely random design. RESULTS: In CCS, participants consumed 802 ± 91, 924 ± 137 and 707 ± 152 mL of fluid in each group respectively. This did not change urine specific gravity, but did lead to a main effect for time for body mass (p < 0.001), blood sodium, potassium and chloride with all groups lower post-training (p < 0.05). In WCS, fixed fluid intake increased participant's body mass post-training in all groups (p < 0.01) and decreased urine specific gravity post-training (p < 0.01). There was a main effect for time for blood sodium, potassium and chloride concentration, with lower values observed post-training (p < 0.05). C blood sodium concentrations were lower than the INW group post-training (p = 0.031) with a trend towards significance in the G group (p = 0.069). CONCLUSION: Ad libitum fluid consumption in cold conditions was insufficient in preventing a decrease in body mass and blood electrolyte concentration post-training. However, when a fixed volume of 11.5 mL.kg.-1.h-1 was consumed during warm condition training, hydration status was maintained by preventing changes in body mass and urine specific gravity.