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Tessa Virtue & Scott Moir


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This issue of the HP SIRCuit has been particularly fun to create and to read. The feeling is one of engagement, and the editorial and creative teams as well as the sport community have been submitting fresh content, new approaches to learning and eye catching design ideas to enhance the publication. The feature articles have blossomed into feature topics and additional perspectives, interviews with coaches, research articles and videos now energize the topics. The timing couldn’t be better as we launch this publication to coincide with the very successful SPIN Conference (SPort INnovation) being held in Calgary this month. We hope you enjoy learning more about Vitamin D, we know it’s in the news all the time, but actually digging in to find out why we and our athletes need it was quite enlightening. Similarly, our sports are being challenged to come up with innovative new ways to advance performance and in this issue new technology for trampolining and trampolining’s application to other sports is highlighted.

Of course, the cover photo of Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir speaks volumes as we are thrilled to put the spotlight on Tessa and Scott for our athlete focus. Their energy and passion remind us of why we work better as a team and never stop pushing until we achieve our goals. This athlete feature builds off an exploration of the dilemma of who, how, when and where statistics are being used and how they are opening up a plethora of new opportunities and questions.

Debra Gassewitz

President & CEO - SIRC

There is so much more in this issue, we’re thrilled to have coaches submitting questions and our sport science teams sharing the latest advancements. We’ve always said this is your publication, so thank you for your help and we welcome your input on future ‘burning issues’ which the high performance sport community would like to find out more about. Enjoy learning from each other!

Jon Kolb, PhD

Jon and Debra

Director, Sport Science, Medicine and Innovation Own the Podium

Performance 4 9 11 12 14 14

As sports evolve, so too must the technology: Designing new technology for the sport of trampoline to understand flight time What sports use trampolines for cross training? Data analysis in high performance sports Athlete Focus - Tessa Virtue & Scott Moir On the Track - Statistics in Coaching Data Rights and Athletes

Proactive & Preventative Medicine 17 20 20 21

Vitamin D for sport performance: what does the evidence say? What is the fuss about Vitamin D? Vitamin D and Skin Pigmentation Ask the expert

Competitive Intelligence 23 Athletes and Protein: What does the literature tell us?

Departments 26 Stay Informed with SIRC 28 Recommended Readings 29 The IST Journal Club HP SIRCuit is partially funded by


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As sports evolve, so too must the technology: Designing new technology for the sport of trampoline to understand flight time Rupf, R; Chapman, C; Taylor, C; Goss J


ince its introduction to the Olympic Games in Sydney 2000, the sport of trampoline has been greatly influenced by advancements in science and technology. The trampoline that Karen Cockburn competed on in Sydney, winning her first of three Olympic medals, has significantly changed over the years. The materials and design of the bed frame, springs and trampoline bed have all been improved yielding much more powerful trampolines. In addition to the equipment, the rules of the sport have also changed. The Federation Internationale de Gymnatique (FIG), the sport’s governing body, introduced flight time into the overall score. As the rules and equipment have evolved, so too have the physical demands of the sport as well as the challenges faced by the sport scientists to ensure the health, safety and success of our athletes. With very little research available on the sport of trampoline, the Canadian Sport Institute Ontario (CSIO) in partnership with Gymnastics Canada, moved forward on a novel project to try and answer some fundamental questions about the sport. The purpose of this project was to look at quantifying the magnitude and timing of forces (kinetics) and relative movements (kinematics) generated by trampolinists and the trampoline beds to better understand how athletes respond in an effort to increase performance.


Work performed by the Canadian Sport Institute Ontario, in partnership with Gymnastics Canada, has focused on the importance of understanding flight time to increase the competitive advantage for Canadian athletes.

A novel approach to understanding the determinants of flight time has been created. The approach is based around the physics of jumping with a focus on further understanding the kinetics and kinematics of jumping. Further, the solution is non-invasive for the athlete. Early investigations using the system show that it has the potential to understand the physics of the problem, be used with regular sport science services, and help identify key factors that can increase flight time.

Rob Rupf is a physiologist with the Canadian Sport Institute Ontario, where he works with multiple sports including trampoline. He is also currently engaged in a PhD program at the University of Toronto, studying the role of warm ups in sports.

The background Flight time was added to the scoring criteria as an objective measure for this judged sport. While this was initiated to make the sport less subjective, there appears to be some additional benefits for increasing flight time. First, increased flight time is positively correlated with the degree of difficulty of the athlete during the routine. Second, in order to complete certain skills a specific flight time is required. Further, as an athlete completes a routine, their flight time for each jump will continuously decrease. This information paints the general picture that if flight time is increased, higher skilled tricks can be completed throughout the routine from start to finish. So what contributes to flight time? Early data collection through the CSIO project targeted multiple jump qualities to find an answer to determinants that may contribute to flight time. Among the most associated values between flight time and jump qualities were leg stiffness and reactivity. Surprisingly, power generated was not one of these qualities. Furthermore, when the lab testing was assessed in terms of joint angular kinematics, those athletes who demonstrated the quickest hip, knee and ankle velocities, also demonstrated increased flight time. Therefore, jump qualities associated with flight time from in lab testing appeared to involve motion small in magnitude, but quick in action. How do the athletes incorporate these qualities while jumping on the elastic surface of Olympic sized trampoline beds? It was conceived through the Integrated Support Team (IST) that two possible scenarios needed to be examined to help answer these questions. First, the amount of force the athlete


could generate needed to be evaluated. If stiffness and reactivity were important elements as seen in the lab testing, then similar force outputs should be observed while jumping in a trampoline bed and the bed should be stretched in accordance to these forces. Second, the timing of when the force was being applied was also considered to be important, with higher flight times postulated to apply their force around maximum downward deflection of the trampoline bed. It was realized that the answers to the questions posed required the trampoline bed to stretch, and to stretch during certain time periods. Therefore, it soon became apparent that in order to assess qualities of flight time for athletes jumping on a trampoline, the focus needed to be turned towards the trampoline bed itself and what happens to the bed during the trampoline jump. The problem The physics of an athlete jumping in a trampoline suggests that three forces act on the individual while in the bed; the force of gravity (Fg), the applied force of the individual (Fa), and the force of the trampoline springs (Fs). As the bed deflects downward, Fs increases, until it is greater than Fg (Figure 1a). Sometime after this occurs, the athlete’s downwards motion will stop as the bed comes to a complete stop before it travels in the opposite direction to project the athlete into the air at a certain velocity. This take-off velocity as the athlete leaves the bed will determine the flight time for that jump, so increasing this value is critical for flight time.

DID YOU KNOW... Olympic trampoline competitors are known to soar as high as 33 feet in the air (that’s about the length of a yellow school bus).

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The force applied by the athlete will positively increase the net force in the upward motion (Figure 1a) and hence the takeoff velocity of the athlete as they leave the bed. What is less clear is how the timing of this force can help improve takeoff velocity. If the athlete pushes too early when Fs¬ is still lower than Fg¬, there may not be enough stability or tension in the bed to push off against. This can be seen as wasting an opportunity to further deflect the springs (Figure 1b). If the athlete waits to apply their force when the bed has reached its maximum deflection, this may enhance the ability to stretch the springs even more and potentially increase take-off velocity (Figure 1b).


Previous Design Concepts Prior to the final design implementation (discussed below), several methods were considered around the following tolerances and resolution. These numbers were based on an athlete spending around 350ms in the bed, with the ability to measure the changes in the bed less than 10 ms (Table 1). While this would produce around 50 data points, most of these points would occur when the bed was at its maximum deflection, which was considered to be important (Figure 1b).


Resolution Tolerance 5 mm

± 15 mm

Time athlete is airborne

5 ms

± 20 ms

Trampoline bed displacement during jump


Landing position in x and y coordinates

20 mm

± 50 mm

Table 1. Desired resolution and tolerance characteristics of system

Figure 1. a) Free body diagram of person in trampoline bed. Force acting on the body due to springs (Fs) and the weight of the athlete (Fg). An applied force (Fa) is also generated by the athlete when pushing in the bed. b) Description of how Fs can change over the duration as the trampoline bed is stretched. An early push and late push are shown as to what is hypothesized in comparison to a normal push.

The first design incorporated the use of an accelerometer, which in theory could provide greater information around force application. The design included the following instrumentation. 1. A wireless inertial measuring unit (IMU) attached to the athlete’s ankle to track the athlete’s acceleration. 2. A large area beam block system for determining landing position and time of flight of the athlete. 3. A displacement sensor in the form a laser ranger.

Being able to measure the maximum displacement of the bed may give a good indication of how Fa and Fs work to contribute increased flight time. For example, if Fa¬ generated by the athlete occurs as the bed reaches its maximum deflection, the rate of the bed deflection on the way down to its maximum value will be different than the rate of the bed deflection on the way up. This technique of measurement provides a non-invasive method to understand force production, by understanding how the trampoline bed behaves. Further, if this data is applied with kinematic data around joints, ideas of when the athlete applies this force can start to be determined. Over time, by knowing how the bed responds to these reactive forces, detailed information of the major determinants for jump height can be optimized.

Preliminary measurements were completed with each of these instruments but there were fundamental deficiencies in each. The IMU system itself had to touch either the trampoline or the athlete, and as such made this solution impractical. Further the noise generated upon landing was quite significant (Figure 2). After processing the noise, this still had a major impact on the design criteria established for the project.

Therefore, in consultation with an engineering group, Fischer Consulting Services, a non-intrusive system was designed that could 1) Measure the deflection of the bed; 2) Measure the flight time and 3) Determine the landing position of the athlete in the bed.


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Figure 2. Excessive noise around landing and taking off using accelerometer data

Various beam block configurations in length and width of the trampoline bed were considered and tested for application in determining the athlete’s landing position. To use this device, the beam block had to be mounted underneath the trampoline frame. This caused significant issues in data collection due to the large surface area that the beam would be broken in as the trampoline bed was displaced (Figure 3).

(x-axis). Similarly, a second camera (Camera 2) monitored the motion of the trampoline bed along the bed’s width (y-axis). Both cameras detect the presence of an athlete in contact with the bed. From the image produced by both cameras the horizontal position of the athlete was determined. Thus the landing position of the athlete on the trampoline bed was determined simply by processing the images in software and recording the x and y values from Camera 1 and Camera 2 respectively. The flight time was determined by monitoring the time in which the athlete was not in contact with the trampoline bed.

Figure 3. Bed displacement area

A laser ranger was tested for determining the displacement of the bed at a single point. While the laser ranger provided excellent measurement accuracy, two significant issues came into play that limited the use of this technology. The first issue was that for the athlete’s safety. The ranger could not be positioned underneath the trampoline as the athlete would hit it, and thus the measurement was limited to the ends of the trampoline. This provided similar issues as the beam blocker technology. Secondly, for a high speed, high accuracy measurement, reflective material had to be attached to the trampoline bed, posing both a visual distraction to the athletes as well as potentially altering the physical response of the bed. Final Design Concept The limits of the technology described above led to the realization that a vision based system ensured athlete safety, could factor in the large surface area generated by the trampoline bed upon first contacted, reduced noise and eliminated the need for additional equipment to be worn by the athlete. Further by using cameras, temporal and spatial resolutions of the system were dependent only on the cameras and lenses selected and as such there is considerable flexibility in the performance of the measurement system. The system developed consisted of a two camera vision system with one camera (Camera 1) monitoring the motion of the trampoline bed along the bed’s length as illustrated in Figure 4

Figure 4: Camera setup with relation to the trampoline bed.

The calculation of the trampoline bed displacement, a more involved calculation, requires both the x and y landing position data described above, as well as the vertical position of the athlete (z-axis) in the image of one camera. Here this z-axis data is generated by camera 2, due to its smaller total field of view (“B” in Figure 4). This allows for a higher resolution, or more efficient use of available pixels. System Performance Comparing the system to the initial tolerances described from Table 1, the error for trampoline bed displacement does not exceed +/- 7mm. However, there are limitations to the system in regards to both flight time and landing position. With the camera slightly below the surface of the trampoline bed, the error that is generated with flight time can vary from 16 to 80ms. The range in error is associated not only with the height of the cameras in relation to the bed, but is also dependent on where the athlete lands in the bed. Error sources in landing position can see more variability upwards of 100mm. Sources for these errors include structural elements of the trampoline bed frame which may occlude camera views, as well as shadows created by the athlete’s foot during landing.


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The ability to compensate for these errors improved with increased knowledge of the system. As the art was learned, the error in these measurements decreased significantly cutting it to within the 50mm tolerance level. However, despite learning this skill, this method of finding location will always have limitations. Alternate solutions to improving the accuracy of the landing position have been addressed, but these solutions are outside the scope of this article.

Some early evidence may also exist in terms of force application. When a non-competitive, recreational and competitive athlete’s jump patterns jumped on the system, some unique patterns were observed in how the bed deforms at the maximal displacement (Figure 6). Athletes with previous experience were able to deform the bed for longer periods of time near point of maximal deflection. Further, the point of maximal deflection occurred earlier with these athletes. Therefore, early work with the system is demonstrating that the monitoring of the bed deflection may provide important information on force generation and when combined with analyzing joint kinematic changes in the athlete, can provide important information on when an athlete is pushing off.

Figure 5. Angle of hip and knee in relation to how much the bed deflects as a %. Blue arrows represent the angle as the bed deflects downwards (athlete on the way down), while the red arrows represent the angle as the bed deflects upwards (athlete on the way up and leaving the bed).

With improved working knowledge of the system, determining vertical deflection in the bed is now possible to explore the further determinants in flight time for trampoline athletes. The downward deflection of the bed, is currently being used to understand the angular kinematics around the hip and knee joints to further understand when, during the downward deflection of the trampoline bed, athletes are looking to apply force. These early investigations have observed that pronounced changes in motion occur when the bed is 80% of the way to its maximum deflection. This would imply that pronounced changes are occurring with force application after Fs is greater than Fg, or when the bed starts to slow rapidly, thus justifying the area of concern at the bottom of the bed highlighted with the systems tolerances and resolution. Further, by simply plotting the results (Figure 5), feedback tools can now be presented back to the athlete, providing the possibility to educate the athlete on when they are pushing off.


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Figure 6 Comparison of bed deflection, normalized to maximum deflection against relative jump cycle time. Only data around the maximum deflection is displayed. Arrows represent point of maximum deflection.

Conclusion With the system meeting the requirements initially set for downward displacement, understanding how the bed moves under the athlete as they land and how the athlete responds to these forces will provide greater power in understanding determinants of flight time in trampoline. The system has already displayed potential as a feedback tool for athletes, and may be able to distinguish between different levels of athletes. With this improved technology understanding flight time in trampoline is as close as a jump away. ∆


What sports use trampolines for cross training?


Michelle Caron - SIRC

ross training with trampolines allows sports teams and individual athletes to develop physical and motor skills that are important for successful participation in sport. Athletes in freestyle skiing, figure skating, hockey and snowboarding can all benefit from the conditioning and fitness training that trampolines can provide. Canadian National Halfpipe Head Coach Trennon Paynter has taken his team to Skyriders Trampoline Place to train with one of Canada’s top trampoline coaches, Dave Ross. He says that “his athletes have bought into the process of going back to basic acrobatic skills and understand their value as building blocks for more newschool tricks.” Trampoline training has many benefits which can translate to many other sports: • Improves balance and coordination • Increases cardiovascular fitness and core strength • Helps to improve rhythm and bilateral motor skill development • Develops upper and lower body strength with a reduced risk of injury • Improves spatial awareness

One of the main benefits of training on a trampoline is proprioception or the method by which the body regulates itself, both in terms of physical position, as well as orientation to the ground or other fixed objects. Freestyle skiing clubs regularly use trampoline training to help athletes perfect their skills while minimizing risk. It’s easy to see that knowing where one is in relation to the ground, especially for skiers and snowboarders, would be an essential skill to have. Figure skating coaches have also used trampolines to get their skater used to rotating. A trampoline gives the skater a little extra hang time so they can focus on the mechanics of pulling into a rotational position. Trampoline training exercises are a fun, challenging and low impact method of cross training for elite athletes to develop and hone their skills in order to get that competitive edge. ∆

Click here for references

Sports that use Trampoline for Cross Training Sport


Figure Skating

Gets skater used to rotating in the air, improves core strength


Improve proprioception, conditioning, balance and freestyle advancement

Freestyle skiing

Perfect aerial movements, conditioning, and balance


Used to teach and perfect basic training exercises including arm positions and leg situations


Develop physical and motor skills

BMX Biking

Perfect aerial movements, conditioning, balance and proprioception


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Performance 10

Data analysis in high performance sports

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Performance Analytics: Dr. Patricia Chafe on the use of data analysis in elite sport In the accompanying video, Dr. Chafe shines a light on the ways in which performance data can be mathematically analyzed to identify the key factors of success in sport. She explains how those insights can inform the ways in which coaches shape the training of athletes for podium results. Furthermore, she notes how the analyses can be integrated with the long-term high performance athlete pathway for the purposes of identifying and fostering talent. Dr. Chafe also acknowledges the challenge of this type

of analysis and the pit-falls to which it is vulnerable. Listen as she generously shares her unique perspective based on a wealth of experience in high-performance sport.

our data has to be world “…leading and it has to be

honest and truthful to our athletes in Canada as to where they fit in the measure against … the [leading] edge of the data instead of the average. — PC

Patricia Chafe is the Senior National Team Performance Analyst for Skate Canada. With a PhD in mathematics and extensive experience in the sport, Dr. Chafe has built a career on evaluating the relationships between the execution of technical and artistic elements in figure skating and the scores awarded by judges with the sport. Utilizing mathematical models, she is able to advise coaches and athletes on best way to structure a program to achieve the scores necessary to be on the leading edge in competitive figure skating.

Practical Applications at the Olympics

Going for Gold at the 2006 Torino Olympic Winter Games

Video Interview by OTP with Dr. Patricia Chafe.

A year-long strategy was developed using data analysis to construct a program for Jeffrey Buttle that targeted the gold medal without sacrificing a podium finish.

Click to view

Click here to listen to the story. Marrying Data Analysis With Long Term Athlete Development

The first challenge [of success stories are “of...The “ performance analysis] is our Canadian athletes

Click here to listen to the story.

just the magnitude of the data … figuring out what are the most important key indicators and honing in on them and not being distracted by things that are not going to be key indicators. — PC

knowing much better than anyone else in the world when they get off the ice, whether they did enough or they didn’t do enough... — PC

Listen to a discussion on using data analysis to provide targets of leading edge success along the athlete pathway.


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Athlete Focus TESSA VIRTUE

SPORT: Figure Skating – Ice Dance HEIGHT: 165 cm DATE OF BIRTH: 05/17/1989 BIRTH PLACE: London, Ontario RESIDENCE: Canton, Michigan TWITTER: WEBSITE: TEAM CANADA:


SPORT: Figure Skating – Ice Dance HEIGHT: 172 cm DATE OF BIRTH: 09/02/1987 BIRTH PLACE: London, Ontario RESIDENCE: Ilderton, Ontario TWITTER: WEBSITE: TEAM CANADA:

BACKGROUND When Tessa was 8 and Scott 10, Scott’s aunt paired them up. They caught the World’s attention in 2006 at the Junior World Championships when they became the first Canadian Ice Dancers to claim the gold medal. Since then, the pair has consistently placed among the top of the pack at International competitions. Virtue and Moir are five-time Canadian National Champions, winning in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012 and 2013. At the 2009 Skate Canada, the pair received the first 10.0 awarded in dance in international competition and they claimed gold at the 2010 & 2012 World Figure Skating Championships. Tessa and Scott made history at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver becoming the first Canadian as well as the first North American ice dance team and the youngest dance team to win the Olympics, and the first ice dance team to win the Olympic gold on home ice. They were also the first ice dancers to win gold on their Olympic debut since the inaugural Olympic ice dance event in 1976.


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COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT RBC has partnered with 2010 Olympic gold medalists and Canadian Ice Dancing champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir. Through the RBC Olympians Program, which began in 2002, RBC recruits and hires elite athletes to work as community ambassadors to bring the Olympic messages of excellence, teamwork, leadership, and commitment to communities. Athletes are hired from across Canada and during the course of their employment, gather skills and experiences that will help with their career transitions to life after sport. The program also provides the athletes much needed funding and flexible work arrangements which allow them to focus on training and competition.

CAREER HIGHLIGHTS 2013 ISU World Figure Skating Championships, London, CAN: 2nd place

Four Continents Championships, Osaka, JPN: 2nd place Canadian Figure Skating Championships, Mississauga, CAN: 1st place

2012 Grand Prix Final, Sochi, RUS: 2nd place

Skate Canada International, Windsor, CAN: 1st place Cup of Russia Grand Prix, Moscow, RUS: 1st place World Championships, Nice, FRA: 1st place Four Continents Championships, Colorado Springs, USA: 1st place Canadian Figure Skating Championships, Moncton, CAN: 1st place

Trophee Eric Bompard Grand Prix, Paris, FRA: 1st place Skate Canada International, Mississauga, CAN: 1st place Finlandia Trophy, Vantaa, FIN: 1st place World Championships, Moscow, RUS: 2nd place

World Championships, Turin, ITA: 1st place Canadian Championships, London, CAN: 1st place

Skate Canada International, Kitchener, CAN: 1st place Trophee Eric Bompard, Paris, FRA: 1st place World Championships, Los Angeles, USA: 3rd place Four Continents Championships, Vancouver, CAN: 2nd place Canadian Championships, Saskatoon, CAN: 1st place

Four Continents Championships, Goyang, KOR: 1st place Canadian Championships, Vancouver, CAN: 1st place

2011 Grand Prix Final, Quebec City, CAN: 2nd place

2010 Olympic Winter Games, Vancouver, CAN: 1st place 2009 Grand Prix Final, Tokyo, JPN: 2nd place

2008 World Championships, Gothenburg, SWE: 2nd place

2007 Grand Prix Final, Turin, ITA: 4th place

Skate Canada International, Quebec City, CAN: 1st place NHK Trophy, Sendai, JPN: 2nd place World Championships, Tokyo, JPN: 6th place Four Continents Championship, Colorado Springs, USA: 3rd place Canadian Championships, Halifax, CAN: 2nd place ∆


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Ask the coach

On the Track – Statistics in Coaching JEAN LAROCHE Lead Coach, High Performance Centre Sherbrooke Para-Athletics HOMETOWN: Sherbrooke, Que. LANGUAGE SPOKEN: English, French EVENTS COACHED: Wheelchair Racing

SIRC was very pleased to speak with Jean Laroche one of Canada’s highly respected para-athletes coaches, about using data analysis in his coaching methodology

Q: What kind of data do you utilize to help prepare your athletes for competition and training? JL: There are two types of information that I am using: 1) Being involved on a daily basis, I am pretty good at identifying the mood of the athletes. The way they reacted to training and the “guts” they have to succeed in it. 2) Training times for specific distances: Usually, the 150 m. flying which gives me information about their top speed. The 400 m. which gives insight into their speed endurance level. The 1000 m. flying which gives information about their ability to sustain high intensity. Q: How do you translate your data into meaningful information?

Jean-Paul Compaore

JL: Based on many years of training statistics, it gives me data that I can share with the athlete to build confidence or adjust the training needs.

Ask the expert Data Rights and Athletes

BW: I have never heard of anyone advancing this theory. Having stated that, to me this is a non controversy. Data rights for individual athletes could never be sustained. Facts can’t be protected property (as an Intellectual Property concept). To some lesser degree the question has already been answered when it was determined that fantasy sports leagues (which are predicated upon team and individual data) did not have to pay a licence fee to professional sporting leagues to use the data. While it was ostensibly decided upon a freedom of speech issue, it was tangentially an issue that the data could not be protected property.

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Q: How do you share this data with your athletes? JL: I have no secrets from my athletes. As soon as the training is over, I sit down with them and we analyze the training results. We then share in the planning towards a solution. Q: Can you use data to predict an athlete’s performance? JL: Yes. I did it in the past as well as this year. That is why I predicted that one of my athletes would have less than ideal results and that Jean-Paul would be awesome. Sometimes, also, I can feel what would be the output. Only because I know my athletes well. It is more than just pure results and mental side. It is a mix of both.

A recent article in the SIRC library discusses the impact of data rights on pro-athletes. We asked Brian Ward a sport agent, lawyer and professor of legal and ethnical issues his thoughts as to the implications for all athletes. Read full article.

Q: Should individual athletes have control/commercial rights to their own statistical data? Is there a moral issue here too?


As an example, with Jean-Paul Compaore, we did training on the 1000 m. flying starts. His results showed that he was ready to achieve world class performance. Both physically and mentally it gave him confidence before the World Championships.

As the idea that individual athletes are different than team athletes, I could not disagree more. Individual athletes usually compete against an opponent. They are playing against someone. That is how the data is created. While it could be argued that swimmers, track and/or field athletes are competing against a time or distance they still are competing against other athletes in the form of the competition (if the Brian Ward, LL.B., B.C.L. statistical record is how many is a sport agent and lawyer wins they have) or even from based in Ottawa. He has a comparison of data point represented both athletes and NSOs in a variety of of view (how does the time sport matters including team compare, saying that someone selection, athlete discipline, ran a 9.81 in the 100 metres contract negotiations is only outstanding when one and enforcement, and compares it to what other sponsorship agreements. athletes have done).


Proactive & Preventative Medicine


Jennifer Sygo - Dietitian and Sports Nutritionist KEY POINTS According to the available evidence, athletes in numerous sports, training at latitudes similar to Canada, routinely display circulating vitamin D (25(OH) D) levels at or below the IOM target of 50 nmol/L, which is consistent with inadequate bone and overall health While there is controversy surrounding the potential benefits of a 25(OH)D status > 50 nmol/L, the likelihood of harm in targeting a 25(OH)D status of >75 nmol/L appears limited, and there is potential MSK, immunological, and antiinflammatory benefits that could be of benefit to high performance athletes In the event of insufficiency (30-50 nmol/L), or adequate, but possibly sub-optimal vitamin D status (51-75 nmol/L), vitamin D supplementation can be considered a safe and appropriate means of increasing serum 25(OH)D. In the absence of available screening and monitoring (e.g. blood work), a routine vitamin D supplement of 1000 IU of vitamin D3 per day is considered safe and reasonable for all athletes


itamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is derived from cholesterol. In humans, vitamin D exists in stored form as calcidiol, or 25-hydroxy vitamin D (25(OH)D), and in active form known as calcitriol, or 1,25 hydroxy vitamin D (1,25(OH)D). Low levels of circulating calcium and phosphorus trigger parathyroid hormone (PTH) to stimulate the conversion of calcidiol (25(OH)D) to calcitriol (1,25(OH)D), which then acts like a steroid hormone, interacting with over 1000 genes throughout human body. Among vitamin D’s many roles include calcium absorption from the gut, bone mineralization, cellular growth, and immune system function. Severe, chronic vitamin D deficiency can lead to rickets or osteomalacia, or softened, bowed bones that occur in children and adults, respectively. In recent years, research has also demonstrated associations between low levels of circulating 25(OH)D and an increased risk of various diseases and disorders, including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and various types of cancers, as well as multiple sclerosis, chronic pain, and arthritis. VITAMIN D AND SPORT PERFORMANCE In addition to studies suggesting that vitamin D status affects our overall health, recent research also suggests that vitamin D could play a role in athletic performance. Perhaps bestknown is the relationship between low vitamin D and suboptimal bone health; more recently, however, vitamin D has been implicated in a range of functions relating to the health and performance potential of athletes. Vitamin D and Bone Health

Jennifer Sygo Jennifer Sygo is a Registered Dietitian and Sports Nutritionist with Cleveland Clinic Canada. Under her supervision, clients learn to integrate a nutritional component to their lifestyle management or wellness program. Ms. Sygo has a special interest in helping those with nutritional needs as they relate to disease, weight management and sports performance. Ms. Sygo is an official provider of nutrition services for the Canadian Sport Centre Ontario (CSCO), and the Coaching Association of Canada’s Sport Nutrition Advisory Council (SNAC); she also serves as the co-chair of the Dietitians of Canada and Consulting Dietitians Network. Ms. Sygo earned her undergraduate degree in Biochemistry from McMaster University and completed her Master of Science degree in Human Biology and Nutritional Sciences at the University of Guelph.

Studies of military groups have demonstrated a link between vitamin D status and stress fractures. An observational study of Finnish male military recruits found an increased

risk of stress fracture when 25(OH)D status dropped below 75 nmol/L. A more recent intervention study of 3700 female naval recruits found that 8 weeks of supplementation with 800 IU of vitamin D per day, along with 2000 mg of calcium, decreased stress fracture incidence by 20% versus placebo. Vitamin D and Muscularskeletal (MSK) Health

Vitamin D is thought to play a role in the maintenance of healthy muscle function. Several studies have suggested a relationship between vitamin D status and fall prevention in the elderly, though the results have not always been consistent. Chronic pain has also been associated with vitamin D status, with women 25(OH)D under 25 nmol/L were 3.5 times more likely to suffer from chronic pain versus those with adequate vitamin D status. In a non-athlete population, supplementation with 5,000-10,000 IU/day of vitamin D for three months improved muscle pain. Vitamin D and Immune System Function

Vitamin D appears to play an important role in immune system function. In one intervention study, taking 800 IU per day of vitamin D for two years, along with 2000 IU for one year, significantly decreased the incidence of common colds and the flu. In a particularly intriguing study on NCAA athletes, the “breakpoint” of illness, whereby the athletes contracted no colds, influenza, or gastroenteritis over a single winter/spring season, was 100 nmol/L.

Vitamin D and Athletic Performance

Since the vitamin D receptor has been found in human muscle, it has been hypothesized that higher circulating levels of vitamin D may influence athletic performance. A handful of recent studies on athletes have been conducted in this area, with mixed results. Close et al (2012) demonstrated that 8 weeks of 5000 IU of vitamin D3 per day significantly improved 10 m sprint times and vertical jump in 61 athletes versus agematched controls, while Ward et al (2010) also found improved jump velocity in female athletes given four doses of 150,000 IU of vitamin D2 over a one-year period. A summary of clinical trials and observational studies on vitamin D and performance can be found in Table 1. Notably, vitamin D’s effect appears to be most pronounced when initial vitamin D status is low (<50 nmol/L); it has speculated, however, that the optimal effect of vitamin D on performance may occur when serum levels exceed 100 nmol/L, which was not obtained in these studies. FACTORS AFFECTING VITAMIN D STATUS Unlike other vitamins and minerals, however, we can obtain only modest amounts of vitamin D from food; instead, it is the sun’s ultraviolet B (UVB) rays that serve as our most efficient means of producing vitamin D. A number of variables can impact vitamin D synthesis, including: • Time of year: vitamin D can only be synthesized when the sun is sufficiently high in the sky. For those living

TABLE 1: Vitamin D Status in Select Athlete Populations






Wolman et al, 2013

19 elite female ballet dancers (age 26 ± 8.86 yr)

Winter: 37.3 nmol/L Summer: 59.8 nmol/L

Soft tissue damage reduced in summer (p <0.05)

Ducher et al, 2011

18 male ballet dancers (age 10-19 yr)

Morton et al, 2012 (U.K.)

20 FA Premier League soccer players (53 N)

Winter: 50.5 nmol/L (range 20.8-94.8 nmol/L)

PTH (Winter): 38.7 pg/ml PTH (Summer)): 26.3 pg/ml


65% of samples insufficient (<50 nmol/L) in winter

Bescos Garcia et al, 2011 (Spain)

21 professional basketball players

Lovell, 2008 (Australia)

18 elite female gymnasts

August: 104.4 ± 21.1 nmol/L December: 51 ± 19 nmol/L

PTH, BMD, Body composition, No. injuries

Winter (March/April): 47.8 ± 21.8 nmol/L Fall: 56 nmol/L

No relationship b/t 25(OH)D and any measure

Dietary vitamin D Serum 25(OH)D (139 ±78 IU/day) and correlated w/ dietary calcium (948 ± 419 mg/ intake of vitamin D day) None

15/18 athletes < 75 nmol/L; 6/18 < 50 nmol/L

Source: J Nutr. 140:817-22, 2010.


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above 50° north, the sun’s zenith angle is low enough that vitamin D cannot be produced in the skin from October to early April. • Time of day: even during the peak summer season in Canada, UVB is only sufficient to produce vitamin D in the skin through the middle of the day, roughly speaking from 10 am to 3 pm. This means that athletes training outdoors in the evening or early morning will likely produce little vitamin D, even on exposed skin. • Skin exposure: the most vitamin D is generated through UVB exposure on the torso, followed by the arms and legs, with the hands and face producing the least. • Skin pigmentation: individuals with darker skin have higher levels of melanin, which acts as a natural sunblock, slowing the production of vitamin D in the skin.

<30 nmol/L 30-50 nmol/L

• Sunscreen: the use of sunscreen blocks 95100% of vitamin D production.

>/= 50 nmol/L 125 nmol/L

• Cloud: complete cloud cover reduces UV levels by about half.

• Glass: blocks UVB rays, which means that athletes who train indoors, even if they are exposed to daylight, will not produce vitamin D.

TABLE 2: Recommended Dietary Allowances for Vitamin D (IOM, 2010)


RDA (IU/day)

UL (IU/day)

Children 1-8 years


2500-3000 IU/day

Children and adults 600 9-70 years Adults >70 years


1000-1500 IU/day 4000 4000

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Inadequate for bone and overall health in healthy individuals Adequate

Potential adverse effects, particularly > 150 nmol/L

VITAMIN D: WHAT ARE THE CORRECT TARGETS? In recent years, the subject of so-called “ideal” serum vitamin D status, as well as the corresponding means to ensure optimal vitamin D, has been the subject of much debate. In 2010, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) issued new Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs) for vitamin D. The new targets represented a significant increase over the previous Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA) (the intake that would be expected to meet the needs of 97.5% of the population), which were tripled for most adults, from 200 to 600 IU (international units) per day, while the tolerable upper intake level (UL) for vitamin D, considered the safe intake level below which there is little risk of adverse effects, was also doubled.

Source: J Nutr. 140:817-22, 2010.


Deficiency; associated with rickets and osteomalacia

Source: J Nutr. 140:817-22, 2010.

• Shade & severe pollution: reduce UV by about 60%.


TABLE 3: Target vitamin D status (IOM, 2010)


• Altitude: UVB levels are higher at altitude than at sea level.

Children <1 year

VITAMIN D STATUS OF ATHLETES Studies on athletes from the U.K. and Australia have demonstrated that athletes from a wide range of sports, including indoor (ballet, gymnastics), and outdoor (Premier League soccer) may experience vitamin D insufficiency, especially in winter time. While geography suggests that all Canadian athletes would benefit from routine screening for vitamin D status, special consideration should be given to athletes with a history of stress fractures, frequent illness or bone/joint injury, MSK weakness or pain, athletes who train primarily indoors, dark-skinned athletes, or vegetarian/vegan athletes.


The IOM also made recommendations for standard reference ranges for assessing and defining vitamin D status, based on serum 25(OH)D status, which are summarized in Table 3. Note, however, that despite the rapidly expanding body of research suggesting vitamin D’s importance in human health, the lack of randomized, controlled trials demonstrating a causal relationship between vitamin D status and health or disease risk meant that the IOM targeted their recommendations to bone health only. Despite the significant increase in the RDA, numerous medical and health groups recommend an even higher intake; for example, the U.S. Endocrine Society recommends 1500-2000 IU per day or more, along with a serum level of at least 75 nmol/L. Notably, individuals living in sun-rich environments have a mean serum 25(OH)D of 122 nmol/L. According to the American College of Sport Medicine guidelines, published before the IOM’s updated recommendations, vitamin D is among the most common vitamins and minerals of concern in athletes’ diets, and that athletes who live at northern latitudes or who train primarily indoors throughout the year are at risk for poor vitamin D status. The International Olympic Committee’s Consensus Statement on Sports Nutrition, 2010, states that “athletes should be particularly aware of their needs for calcium, iron, and Vitamin D”, and that “Vitamin D may be needed in supplemental form when sun exposure is inadequate.” In general, however, few sport organizations have publicly expressed support for increased vitamin D intake, sunlight exposure, or higher serum vitamin D targets than recommended by the IOM as a strategy to improve athletic performance. MEETING VITAMIN D NEEDS: DIET, SUN EXPOSURE, AND SUPPLEMENTS As mentioned, vitamin D can be obtained from food or UVB exposure. Food sources of vitamin D are generally limited, with oily fish being the richest natural source. A 3-ounce/85 gram serving of sockeye salmon, for example, provides 447 IU of vitamin D, while the same portion of tuna provides only 154 IU. Some foods, including milk, some yogurts and

DID YOU KNOW... Fifteen facts you probably never knew about vitamin D and sunlight exposure.

margarines, are also fortified with vitamin D, usually at a dose of approximately 100 IU per serving. The U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Study found that the average adult male consumes an average of 204-288 IU of vitamin D per day, while females consume 144-276 IU/day . A study of Canadian junior women soccer players found that 0% met the RDA for vitamin D. Conversely, full-body sun exposure produces approximately 10,000 IU of vitamin D per day, which can occur in as little as 1015 minutes for a light-skinned individual, during peak summer sun. Bearing in mind both the dearth of summer sun in Canada, and the safety of sun exposure (notably, however, the amount of sun exposure required to maintain adequate vitamin D status is just a few minutes per day), supplementation is often considered the method of choice for obtaining vitamin D. In general, vitamin D supplements exist in two main forms: vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol), which is the same vitamin that is produced in the skin in response to sun exposure, and is derived from sheep’s lanolin or cod liver oil, and vitamin D2 (ergocalcliferol), which is not naturally present in the human body, but is produced by activating ergosterol from fungi or yeast via UV light. While it is generally believed that vitamin D3 is the more effective supplement, the research is still equivocal. Notably, vitamin D2 is a suitable choice for vegetarian or vegan athletes. In general, increasing serum 25(OH)D above 50 nmol/L requires higher doses of vitamin D than when initial serum levels are below adequate levels. Taking larger doses slows the dose-response versus doses of less than 1000 IU/day, but are often needed to trigger a significant effect on serum levels. Roughly speaking, every 1000 IU/day will trigger an increase serum 25(OH)D by 25 nmol/L, though individual variability may occur. Supplements are available as tablets, chewables, or drops, usually in doses of 400 or 1000 IU. Vitamin D is best absorbed when taken with a mixed meal. SUMMARY In general, Canadian athletes may be at an increased risk of vitamin D deficiency. While there is controversy surrounding the potential benefits of a 25(OH)D status greater than 50 nmol/L, there are potential health and performance-related benefits that may be associated with a 25(OH)D status of 75 nmol/L or more. As a result, the IST or other support teams should consider either sun exposure or vitamin D supplementation when there is evidence that an athlete cannot meet established 25(OH) standards of 50 nmol/L, and possibly 75 nmol/L. ∆

Read more


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What is the fuss about Vit Vitamin D and Skin Pigmentation Joshua Karanja- SIRC

Guide runner for Paralympian Jason Dunkerley Winner of the Ottawa Half Marathon 2013 Dark skinned individuals living in the northern latitudes, where solar radiation is relatively weak for most of the year, are less likely to get enough vitamin D which helps prevent rickets disease in children and osteoporosis in adults. Darker skin acts as a natural sunscreen limiting the ability to get enough Vitamin D from the Sun. This can be explained by evolution. If you looked at the globe you will notice dark skinned individuals mostly inhabit the equator region and more light skinned individuals in the northern latitude. As you move from the equatorial region and head north or south there is less sunlight. As a result people in the equatorial region became darker due to the year round sun. As they migrated north they developed lighter hues since there wasnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t as much sunlight year round. Thus they evolved to accommodate to their environment of less sunshine. In modern times people are not confined to one area, they live in all parts of the world. This makes it harder for dark skinned individuals living away from the equatorial region to get enough vitamin D creating a high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in this community. Dark skin contains so much melanin that very little UVB rays penetrate the skin. Melanin protects the skin against UV light and blocks the suns rays. The darker the skin, the more melanin it contains and the less vitamin D it will produce. Melanin is also the reason that black people are less affected by sunburn and sun damage to the skin. Living in the northern latitudes can be a problem because dark skinned individuals do not get enough sunlight to penetrate the skin and allow for Vitamin D to be made. 1 in 5 non-white Canadians have a vitamin D deficiency. Having a proper diet and using supplements can help minimize vitamin D deficiency.

Vitamin D: are you getting enough? -Katelynn Maniatis, Registered Dietitian, Sunnybrook Hospital

Food Sources of Vitamin D



Vitamin D

Salmon, canned, sockeye with bones and liquid


780 IU

Salmon, baked, sockeye

Salmon, canned, pink, with bones and liquid

Salmon, canned, chum with bones and liquid Sardines, Pacific, drained with bones

Click to view

Cod liver oil

Oysters, Pacific, boiled or steamed

Halibut, Atlantic or Pacific baked or broiled Milk, fortified

Rice or soy milk, fortified Provides Health Canada recommendations for daily intake of vitamin D, explains what is does for the

body and provides specifics on how to increase your vitamin D levels.

Tuna, white, canned in water, salted, drained Margarine, fortified

Tuna, light, canned in water, salted, drained Egg yolk Yogurt


3.5 oz


3.5 oz

100g 100g 5ml

100g 100g

3.5 oz 3.5 oz 3.5 oz


3.5 oz 3.5 oz

250ml 1 cup 250ml 1 cup 100g

3.5 oz

10ml 2tsp

100g 3.5 oz 1

100ml 3.5ml

906 IU 581 IU 269 IU 480 IU 400 IU 320 IU 192 IU 111 IU 88 IU 80 IU 60 IU 48 IU 26 IU 20 IU

Source: Vitamin D: Are you getting enough? â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Canadian Sport Centre Pacific


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tamin D? Ask an expert Dr. Beth Mansfield

To further explore the Vitamin D topic, SIRC asked Dr. Beth Mansfield, Registered Dietitian, Certified Exercise Physiologist and member of the Canadian Academy of Sport & Exercise Medicine (CASEM), her thoughts.

SIRC: What are your recommendations for high performance athletes living in Canada regarding their vitamin D status? BM: Studies in athletes suggests that Vitamin D status is dependent on outdoor training time during peak sunlight. The effective sunlight wavelength is not present between October and March in countries above latitude 52 degrees north, which includes most of Canada. It has been suggested that sun exposure (usually 5–10 min of exposure of the arms and legs or the hands, arms, and face, 2 or 3 times per week) and increased dietary and supplemental vitamin D intakes are reasonable approaches to guarantee vitamin D sufficiency (Holick, MF. American Journal of

intake of Vitamin D alone (spring test). Sports dietitians and physicians can then make recommendations to help athletes achieve a serum 25(OH) D concentration of ≥32 and preferably ≥40 ng•mL−1. Further research is needed to determine the effect of vitamin D status on injury, training, and performance in athletes. (Larson-Meyer and Wills, 2010. Vitamin D and Athletes.

For low solar elevation angles common at higher latitudes, Vitamin D status should be monitored by regular blood tests (spring and fall) to determine impact of sunlight exposure over the spring and summer (fall test) and the impact of their dietary

(Holick, MF. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition Dec 2004 Vol 80 No 6 pp 1678S-1688S).

Dr. Elizabeth (Beth) Mansfield, PhD, MSc, RD, is a Sport Nutrition Specialist, Registered Dietitian and Certified Exercise Physiologist with Peak Performance.

Clinical Nutrition Dec 2004 Vol 80 No 6 pp 1678S-1688S.)

Current Sports Medicine reports: Vol 9 Issue 4 pp 220-226)

SIRC: Should athletes who are vegetarian or vegan be concerned with vitamin D consumption? BM: Athletes following a more plant based diet, including different types of vegetarians as well as vegans, should be able to make sufficient vitamin D if they regularly spend time outdoors in spring, summer and early fall. For those who may not be making enough of their own vitamin D, there are different forms of supplemental vitamin D, including those derived from lichen that would be suitable for vegans. SIRC: Can vitamin D be absorbed in conjunction with use of sunscreen? BM: The body’s production of Vitamin D is dependent on season, latitude, and time of day as well as skin pigmentation, aging, sunscreen usage and glass. An SPF of 15 is enough to block 98% of the vitamin D production For those athletes such as sailors, surfers, wake boarders, a fine line exists between adequate UV exposure for vitamin D3 synthesis and a risk of sun burn (Webb & Engelsen. Calculated ultraviolet exposure levels for a healthy Vitamin D status. Photochemistry and Photobiology Vol 82, Issue 6 PP 1697-1703, 2006).

“Sunshine vitamin”


itamin D (sometimes called the ‘sunshine vitamin’) is unique in that it requires the skin to be exposed to ultraviolet-B radiation for optimal absorption. Because it is present in very few foods and many people use sunscreen to protect themselves from the harmful effects of UV rays, it has become common for athletes to use supplements to obtain vitamin D.

Why should athletes consider vitamin D? Vitamin D functions to maintain normal levels of calcium and phosphorus in the blood, as well as aiding in the absorption of calcium to form and maintain strong bones. It is a fat-soluble hormone that body can receive from food and supplements although the primary method is from direct exposure to sunlight. • Strengthens bones and teeth and protects athletes from stress fractures • Prevents cold and flu and improves immunity • May prevent cancer, depression or seasonal affective disorder (SAD), osteoporosis, hypertension, inflammation, asthma and heart disease Read more

Am I at risk? Factors that may contribute to vitamin D deficiency include skin pigmentation, early or late day training, indoor training, geographic location and sunscreen use. Athletes that may be at higher risk are those that spend the most time indoors; gymnasts, ballet dancers, figure skaters, and wrestlers. 1. Do you have dark skin? 2. Do you train indoors? 3. Do you wear sunscreen daily? 4. Do you have a spinal cord injury? 5. Do you train fully covered e.g. skiers? 6. Do you live in Canada in the winter? Source: Vitamin D: Are you getting enough? – Canadian Sport Centre Pacific

Competitive Intelligence

Athletes and Protein: What does the literature tell us? Nancy Rebel, SIRC


Protein has been associated with ergogenic properties for athletes when consumed in the appropriate quantities, in the appropriate type and at the right time

The general research has concluded that for the average athlete protein supplements are not necessary and that even if athletes do require more protein, the amounts can be met through an appropriate balance of natural foods in their diet

Targeting post-exertion protein consumption to maximize muscle uptake and retention of amino acids is key for most types of training. Research suggests that the 24 hours post-exertion is the optimal time for protein fueling

Nancy Rebel is the Director of Content Development at SIRC. With a Masters in Library and Information Science, she is responsible for the management of SIRC’s research collection and directs the creation and development of editorial content for SIRC’s many educational resources. Nancy has been responsible for the content submissions for the world-renowned SportDiscus database; aiding in the coordination of in-house and international submissions.


utritional planning has long been considered as an essential part of the athlete training plan. And in the same vein registered dietitians and/or nutritionists have been an important component in the athlete’s support team. In the high performance arena, when small advantages can make the difference in achieving optimum performance, being able to provide the proper fuel for performance and recovery is a key factor. Supplementing the athlete diet has been discussed as one way of making sure that athletes are getting adequate amounts of the nutrients they need to support their training and competition. Supplements are a huge industry these days and most athletes are educated to know what they are taking and why. Proteins and amino acids are some of the most popular supplements on the market. With protein’s role in tissue synthesis, it has been suggested that athletes may require additional protein either in their diet or through supplementation. Research in the area of protein supplementation suggests that there is limited or no need for manufactured supplements when natural protein in foods can easily be added to the athletic diet while also providing additional nutritional benefits at the same time. It is recommended that before any protein intake is added to the diet, an athlete should be evaluated by nutritional specialists in order to determine what their protein needs are and if they are being adequately met.

What is protein? Protein is a necessary nutrient in the human diet, it is essential for growth and development, maintaining muscle and to produce enzymes, red blood cells and white blood cells for the immune system (Coaching Association of Canada, 2013). Dietary protein is made up of 20 different amino acids (Williams, 2005), eight of which are essential and must come from the diet. Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. Protein ingested in food is broken down by digestive enzymes and absorbed as amino acids (Nemet & Elliakim, 2007). Some amino acids are used as minor fuel sources during exercise. Why do athletes need it?

Table 1: Estimated protein requirements for athletes


Protein intake (g/kg/day)

Sedentary men and women


Elite male endurance athletes


Moderate-intensity endurance athletes (a) 1.2 Recreational endurance athletes (b)


Resistance athletes (early training)


Football, power sports


Resistance athletes (steady state)


Female athletes

~15% lower than maleathletes

a) Exercising approximately four to five times per week for 45-60 min (b) Exercising four to five times per week for 30 min at <55% VO2peak Source: Burke and Deakin, Clinical Sports Nutrition, 3rd Edition, McGraw-Hill Australia Pty Ltd, 2006

Protein has been associated with ergogenic properties for athletes when consumed in the appropriate quantities, in the appropriate type and at the right time. While dietary protein and amino acid supplementation has been used by competitive and recreational athletes alike, research shows limited data to support its wide use (Nemet & Eliakim, 2007). Associated physiological responses of protein-related amino acids may include some of the following: • Branch-chain amino acids can by used by the skeletal muscle as a source of energy. • Glutamine augments protein synthesis and provides an anticatabolic effect. • It is suggested that creatine or phosphocreatine may improve energy production during high intensity training, as well as speed recovery time from high-intensity training. • Protein supports muscle growth as well as increasing muscle strength and mass.

• Leucine or beta-Hydroxy beta-methylbutyrate (HMB) may inhibit protein degradation and may enhance training adaptations. Endurance athletes may require protein during heavy training cycles to meet their energy needs and to aid in repair and recovery. Strength athletes may need protein during intense training to gain muscle mass and function. Athletes who are growing also may have additional protein requirements. However, the science is inconclusive and further research is required before suggesting the need for supplementing protein intake for ergogenic benefits.

How much is appropriate? Activity level determines how much protein is needed in the diet. A general guideline suggests that an average person should consume 10-35 % of their calories as protein. Athletes will need more protein than sedentary individuals. Table 1 outlines some of the recommendations that have been put forward for protein needs for athletes at different training intensities. Additional sources also estimate the protein needs for the growing teenage athlete to be 0.8 - 0.9 gms/lb based upon a 120 – 135 lb person and for a dieting athlete, reduced calories to be 0.8 - 0.9 gms/lb for a 120 – 135 lb person (Clark, 2002). Supplements have been marketed to the active population as a way to enhance ergogenic properties of natural foods. “Protein supplements have been recommended to athletes to enhance nitrogen retention and increase muscle mass, to prevent protein catabolism during prolonged exercise, to promote muscle glycogen resynthesis following exercise, and to prevent sport anemia by promoting an increased synthesis of hemoglogin, myoglobin, oxidative enzymes, and mitochondria during aerobic training” (Williams, 2005). However, the general research has concluded that for the average athlete protein supplements are not necessary and that even if athletes do require more protein, the amounts can be met through an appropriate balance of natural foods in their diet. A common problem with the use of protein supplements and focusing on a protein-based diet is that fewer carbohydrates are often consumed as a result. When supplemental protein is consumed in the place of carbohydrates, muscle will not be fueled adequately leading to fatigue and loss of strength and power. And when manufactured foods such as supplements are consumed in the place of natural foods, other


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natural vitamins and nutrients contained in those natural foods are missed. Protein is one of those nutrients that cannot be stored in the body for future use. If an athlete consumes excess protein it is most likely that it will be used either as energy or stored as fat if not required. Therefore it is important that we consume only enough protein on a daily basis to satisfy our development and regeneration needs. According to Nemet & Eliakim (2007) overloading of protein can have adverse effects such as high urea/nitrogen load on the kidneys and liver, as well as dehydration, gout, calcium loss, and gastrointestinal concerns.

Table 2: Protein rich foods for athletes. Each of the following foods provides approximately 10 g of protein. These foods have moderate to low fat contents and are rich in other nutrients.

Animal Foods

Plant Foods

30 g (1.5 slices) reduced fat cheese

3 cups (90 g) wholegrain cereal

2 small eggs

70 g cottage cheese

1 cup (250 ml) low-fat milk

35 g lean beef, lamb or pork (cooked weight) 40 g lean chicken (cooked weight) 50 g grilled fish

50 g canned tuna or salmon 200 g reduced fat yoghurt 150 g light fromage frais

Research continues to suggest that protein supplements such as powders, bars and drinks are not superior to the consumption of protein-rich foods. In order for athletes to consume protein through natural food sources they should look to animal and/or plant based protein sources. Proteins derived from animal sources are complete proteins providing all the essential amino acids and also provide B vitamins and heme iron, which is readily absorbed by the body (bioavailable). Proteins derived from plant sources are usually incomplete proteins but still provide many essential amino acids and also provide fiber, water, other vitamins and minerals and non-heme iron, which is not readily absorbed by the body. Rich sources of protein can include: meat, fish, poultry, eggs, cheese, tofu, soy, nuts, nut butters, milk, cottage cheese, yogurt, spinach and legumes such as kidney beans, lentils and chickpeas. Good lean high protein foods sources may include: bran cereal, light milk, Swiss cheese, lean steak, baked potato, and broccoli. Table 2 provides examples of protein rich foods and the quantities by which athletes can make sure they are getting the protein they need. The ideal is to mix and match foods in order to team up protein, carbohydrates and other nutrients to adequately balance the bodyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s fuel. When should athletes target protein consumption? With high performance training and competition the focus of protein consumption for athletes lies in providing balance between protein breakdown, which occurs during exertion, and protein rebuilding that needs to take place post-exertion. While research suggests that eating protein before strength training

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2 cups (330 g) cooked pasta 3 cups (400 g) cooked rice

3/4 cup (150 g) lentils or kidney beans 200 g baked beans 120 g tofu

60 g nuts or seeds 300 ml soy milk 100 g soy meat

Source: Australian Institute of Sport

Which foods provide protein?


4 slices (120 g) wholemeal bread

can optimize muscle development, targeting post-exertion protein consumption to maximize muscle uptake and retention of amino acids is key for most types of training. Research suggests that the 24 hours post-exertion is the optimal time for protein fueling. Post-exertion protein aids in muscle growth and repair and training recovery, especially when combined with carbohydrate consumption. A protein-carbohydrate combo snack immediately post-exertion begins the return to protein balance. During longer recovery periods it may be helpful to have a meal plan that organizes the pattern and timing of carbohydrate and protein rich foods according to what is comfortable and practical for the athlete. Protein ingestion before sleep improves post-exercise overnight recovery. Research on timing issues is limited and continues to explore restoring optimal balance. Conclusion When plotting your training plan, it is important to recognize that every athlete is going to require individual tweaks to their nutrition that works for them. If an athlete wants to ensure that they get the most out of their nutrition, consulting a dietician or nutritionist is a great option. Training diaries can be essential for this process, since needs change as training progresses. A well designed nutrition plan can play a critical role in creating and replacing energy stores, repairing muscle tissue and maximizing athletic gains. â&#x2C6;&#x2020;

Click here for references and bibliography.


Calendar For more events, check out the SIRC Conference Calendar. OCTOBER

9-11 16-19

International Altitude Training Symposium Colorado Springs, Colorado

Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology (CSEPSCPE) 2013 - Extreme Human Physiology: Pathology to Performance Toronto, Ontario


Sport Canada Research Initiative Conference Ottawa, Ontario

Oct 30 Nov 1

10th IOC World Conference on Sport and the Environment Sochi, Russia

Aim for excellence in athletics, academics and life. Get connected with COACHING and TRAINING RESEARCH EMPLOYMENT opportunities SPORT INDUSTRY in Canada



North American Society for the Sociology of Sport 34th Annual Conference: Constructs of Globalization and Cultural Competencies: Navigating a Changing Global Economy Quebec City, Quebec


2013 International Conference on Applied Strength & Conditioning MCG – Victoria, Australia


Fourth World Conference on Doping in Sport Johannesburg, South Africa


New Zealand Sports Medicine Conference Dunedin, New Zealand


International Sport Science Students Conference 2013 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia


9-12 13-15 17-19

January 8-12


US Sport Congress 2013 Reno, Nevada

Sports & Education Expo Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

International Sport & Exercise Nutrition Conference 2013 Newcastle upon Tyne, England National Association for Kinesiology in Higher Education (NAKHE) 2014 Collaborative Conference STEPS into the Future: Exploring Opportunities and Facing the Challenges of 21st Century San Diego, California National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) Coaches Conference 2014 Indianapolis, Indiana


2014 CS4L National Summit Gatineau, Quebec


2014 World LTAD Symposium – Canadian Sport for Life Gatineau, Quebec



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Stay Informed with SIRC Dear SIRC...

New Books @ SIRC

SIRC, in collaboration with Human Kinetics, features four books of interest to high performance sport. Abernethy, B., Kippers, V., Hanrahan, S.J., Pandy, M.G., McManus, A.M. and MacKinnon, L. Biophysical Foundations of Human Movement (3rd Edition). Champaign, Ill; Human Kinetics Publishing; 2013. Hausswirth, C. and Mujika, I. (Eds). Recovery for Performance in Sport. Champaign, Ill; Human Kinetics Publishing; 2013.

Jeukendrup, A. and Gleeson, M. Sport Nutrition: An Introduction to Energy Production and Performance. (2nd Edition). Champaign, Ill; Human Kinetics Publishing; 2010. Loudon, J.K., Manske, R.C., and Reiman, M.P. Clinical Mechanics and Kinesiology. Champaign, Ill; Human Kinetics Publishing; 2013.

Q: Research from several locations has pointed to the rapid and statistically significant improvement in the performance of both athletes and non-athletes by the introduction of several exceptionally intense bouts of exercise for about 30 seconds just twice a week. Is the data from this research robust? A: What you are referring to is called high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and is used by many athletes to reach their performance goals and enhance their fitness levels. HIIT is a type of cardio training that involves alternating bouts of light-to-moderate intensity with bouts of high intensity. HIIT sessions include a warm-up, several short, maximum intensity bursts punctuated with low intensity recovery intervals followed by a cool down. Most HIIT training workouts last about 15 minutes but can stretch to 20 minutes. A study from McMaster University (Ontario, Canada) determined that untrained subjects, who performed 6 sessions of HIIT comprised of 4-6 bouts of 30 second all out cycling, lead to a doubling of their sub-maximal endurance capacity. Current research has demonstrated an improvement in aerobic performance normally in the region of 10–20% after just 2 weeks of training. Benefits include: • • • •

increases in cardio fitness, metabolism and endurance improvements in exercise performance prevention of muscle loss challenges both beginners and experts

The difference between regular interval training and HITT is that it involves maximum effort, not just a higher heart rate. Typically the exercises involve running, cycling, skipping, or swimming but can easily adapt to any sport. Different approaches to this training can involve varying the time of each interval, how many intervals to include and how many of these training sessions to perform each week.

Click and enter to win one of our featured titles!

Online References: High-intensity workouts: Benefits and drawbacks of jamming 30 minutes of exercise into seven

Subsribe to the High Performance SIRCuit here

How three minutes of exercise a week could change your life Low-Volume, High-Intensity Interval Training: A Practical Fitness Strategy The Complete Guide to Interval Training - Infographic Please click here for the full list of SIRC resources on this topic including studies and links that provide information on prescreening procedures as well as policy guidelines. ∆


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Sport Governance

Evaluations By-Laws Leadership Roles Decisions Strategic Planning

SIRC is pleased to be working together with Sport Canada and the Canadian Olympic Committee to provide a series of professional development webinars that focus otn a variety of governance and leadership related topics. SEPT

24 nov

19 jan


Revenue Generation in Sport Highlights from the Canadian Sponsorship Landscape Study and Related Research

Conflict Management

Sport organizations often find themselves dealing with conflict. Peter will advise how best to handle problem situations.

Canadian Olympic Team Marketing Vision

Explore marketing visions and strategies for the Canadian Olympic Team, London 2012, and Sochi 2014.


Succession planning


building a communication plan


17 MAr


Are you ready? Key things to think about for succession planning.

Expert insight into the 5Ws of a communications plan, and the tactics necessary to bring the plan to life.

Leadership in the Eye of the Storm

Crisis Management in Sport: Tips, Tactics, Do’s and Don’ts “It helps to have a hose when you want to put out a fire.”  



Recommended Readings In our collaborative effort to bring you the latest research in high performance sport, Own The Podiums has selected specific areas of interest to coaches and trainers and SIRC has culled through our resources to provide access to recent research published within these areas.

HEALTH & NUTRITION Castellani JW, Young AJ. Health and performance challenges during sports training and competition in cold weather. Br J Sports Med. 2012;46(11):1-5. Erdman KA, Tunnicliffe J, Lun VM, Reimer RA. Eating patterns and composition of meals and snacks in elite Canadian athletes. International Journal of Sport Nutrition & Exercise Metabolism. 2013;23(3):210-219. Lynch S. The differential effects of a complex protein drink versus isocaloric carbohydrate drink on performance indices following high-intensity resistance training: A two arm crossover design. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. 2013;10(1):1-10. Maughan RJ, Al-Kharusi W, Binnett MS, et al. Fasting and sports: A summary statement of the IOC workshop. Br J Sports Med. 2012;46(7):457-457. Riera J, Pons V, Martinez-Puig D, et al. Dietary nucleotide improves markers of immune response to strenuous exercise under a cold environment. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. 2013;10(1):1-8.

OLYMPIC PERFORMANCE Din C, Paskevich D. An integrated research model of Olympic podium performance. International Journal of Sports Science & Coaching. 2013;8(2):431-444. Seiler S. Evaluating the (your country here) Olympic medal count. International Journal of Sports Physiology & Performance. 2013;8(2):203-210. Tucker R, Collins M. What makes champions? A review of the relative contribution of genes and training to sporting success. Br J Sports Med. 2012;46(8):555-561.


INJURY PREVENTION Fitch KD. An overview of asthma and airway hyper-responsiveness in Olympic athletes. Br J Sports Med. 2012;46(6):413-416. Kippelen P, Anderson SD. Airway injury during high-level exercise. Br J Sports Med. 2012;46(6):385-390. Palmer-Green D. Injury and illness epidemiology in Great Britain elite sport: The Injury/Illness performance project (IIPP). Sport & Exercise Scientist. 2013(35):24-25. Steffen K, Soligard T, Engebretsen L. Health protection of the Olympic athlete. Br J Sports Med. 2012;46(7):466-470.

COACHING Quality coaching: Fostering intrinsic motivation with Paralympic athletes. J Sport Exercise Psychol. 2012;34(3):433-434. Driska AP, Kamphoff C, Armentrout SM. Elite swimming coaches’ perceptions of mental toughness. Sport Psychologist. 2012;26(2):186206. Durand-Bush N, Collins J, McNeill K. Women coaches’ experiences of stress and selfregulation: A multiple case study. International Journal of Coaching Science. 2012;6(2):21-43. Isoard-Gautheur S, Guillet-Descas E, Lemyre P. A prospective study of the influence of perceived coaching style on burnout propensity in high level young athletes: Using a selfdetermination theory perspective. Sport Psychologist. 2012;26(2):282-298. Nowicka P, Eli K, Ng J, Apitzsch E, SundgotBorgen J. Moving from knowledge to action: A qualitative study of elite coaches’ capacity for early intervention in cases of eating disorders. International Journal of Sports Science & Coaching. 2013;8(2):343-356.

HP SIRCuit Fall 2013


COACHING Isoard-Gautheur S, Guillet-Descas E, Lemyre P. A prospective study of the influence of perceived coaching style on burnout propensity in high level young athletes: Using a self-determination theory perspective. Sport Psychologist. 2012;26(2):282-298. Nowicka P, Eli K, Ng J, Apitzsch E, SundgotBorgen J. Moving from knowledge to action: A qualitative study of elite coaches’ capacity for early intervention in cases of eating disorders. International Journal of Sports Science & Coaching. 2013;8(2):343-356.

PSYCHOLOGY Beauchamp MK, Harvey RH, Beauchamp PH. An integrated biofeedback and psychological skills training program for Canada’s Olympic short-track speedskating team. Journal of Clinical Sport Psychology. 2012;6(1):67-84. Davis IV H, van Anders SM, Ngan ET, et al. Neural, mood, and endocrine responses in elite athletes relative to successful and failed performance videos. Journal of Clinical Sport Psychology. 2012;6(1):6-21. Grant MA, Schempp PG. Analysis and description of Olympic gold medalists’ competition-day routines. Sport Psychologist. 2013;27(2):156-170. Mellalieu S, Shearer DA, Shearer C. A preliminary survey of interpersonal conflict at major games and championships. Sport Psychologist. 2013;27(2):120-129. Silva A, Queiroz SS, Winckler C, et al. Sleep quality evaluation, chronotype, sleepiness and anxiety of Paralympic Brazilian athletes: Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games. Br J Sports Med. 2012;46(2):150-154.

The IST Journal Club The goal of the IST Journal Club is to share ‘must reads’ on cutting edge performance based applications, training/competition variables, and proactive medical interventions, selected by performance service experts representing various professional disciplines associated with Integrated Support Teams.

The effects of injury and illness on Haemoglobin mass. Gough, C.E., Sharpe, K., Garvican, L.A., Anson, J.M., Saunders, P.U. and Gore, C.J. (2013), International Journal of Sport Medicine. [Epub ahead of print] Reviewed by Leo Thornley This paper highlights very well that an absence or reduction in training can be very detrimental key markers of performance. There are a number of positive physiological adaptations that we seek through regular consistent training and indeed through supplementary training strategies. An increase in haemoglobin mass is one such adaptation. Gough and colleagues show through longitudinal observation that reduced training, both from illness, injury or as a result of surgery can have a marked negative effect and reduce Hb mass by 2.3% on average (but up to 15% in one individual!). This reminds us that certainly at key times of the competitive year, staying healthy and injury free is critical. If training does have to be reduced then it appears a reduction in volume may be less detrimental than a reduction in intensity.

Designing a WarmUp Protocol for Elite Bob-Skeleton Athletes Cook C, Holdcroft D, Drawer S, Kilduff L. (2013). International Journal Of Sports Physiology & Performance;8(2):213-215. Reviewed by Matt Jordan There are many challenges associated with the warm up for winter sport athletes. This study evaluated the effects of different warm up protocols on performance in maximum effort weighted sled pulls in elite skeleton athletes. Three higher intensity warm up protocols with different timing prior to the performance test and a 4th trial using a winter survival garment to retain body heat were compared to the self-selected warm up protocol for 3 male and 3 female skeleton athletes in a randomized cross over design trial. The effect size for the condition with the survival garment elicited the largest effect on performance (ES = 1.8), and all prescribed warm up protocols resulted in an improvement in performance compared to the selfselected warm up protocol. The authors believe this investigation led to a positive impact on in-competition warm up strategies. ∆

This paper is also useful as it reminds us of the importance in understanding the robustness and variability of our measures. ∆ Editor Content Director Creative Director Design Team

Debra Gassewitz Nancy Rebel David Roberts Josyane Morin

Contributing Editor Special Thanks Translation Photos courtesy of

Dr. Jon Kolb, OTP Cara Thibault, OTP Paul Dorotich, OTP IST Journal Club and all the contributors Marcel Nadeau COC, OTP, SIRC

Sport Information Resource Centre (SIRC) is Canada’s national sport library, established over 40 years ago. Mailing address: SIRC 180 Elgin Street, suite 1400 Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K2P 2K3 | Tel: +1 (613) 231-7472 Disclaimer: Author’s opinions expressed in the articles are not necessarily those of SIRCuit, its publisher, the Editor, or the Editorial Board. SIRC makes no representations or warranties whatsoever as to the accuracy, completeness or suitability for any purpose of the content. Copyright © 2013 SIRC. All rights reserved. No part of the publication may be reproduced, stored, transmitted, or disseminated, in any form, or by any means, without prior written permission from SIRC, to whom all requests to reproduce copyright material should be directed, in writing.


Herzog, T. & Hays, K. (2012). Therapist or Mental Skills Coach? How to Decide, The Sport Psychologist, 26, 486-499 Reviewed by Judy Goss his article provides a wonderful illustration of scope of practice and how things evolve over the course of working with an athlete. Herzog and Hays provide examples of work with individuals that starts out with one area of focus, mental skills training or therapy, and evolves into another. Why is this distinction important? The authors present a continuum that has on one end mental skills training that moves to counseling and then to psychotherapy on the other end. Research has found at the US Olympic Training Centre that 85% of all cases seen by the sport psychology staff involved personal counseling with athletes. Obviously the goal is always to assist in the relief of symptoms and improve daily functioning but one must remember that this may shift out their field of expertise. The article provides some general principles, thoughts and recommendations for the practitioner to help in serving that athlete with performance and personal concerns. The authors provide several case studies of individual’s who initially presented with the need to learn some mental skills however once the athlete seemed secure in the relationship the questions moved into a therapy situation. Understanding what the athletes needs is always essential to the service provided but also recognizing when it is potentially out of your scope is also key to the success. We know in our field that relationships mean everything and when you realize that you may work with an athlete for several years is it not natural for the athlete to have some personal issues along the way. We all know that athletes are people too. Make sure as a Mental Performance Consultant that you are prepared and have a framework to go from when you encounter this situation. ∆

HP SIRCuit Fall 2013


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