Fluid balance, sweat Na+ losses, and carbohydrate intake of elite male soccer players in response to low and high training intensities in cool and hot environments

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Hypohydration increases physiological strain and reduces physical and technical soccer performance, but there are limited data on how fluid balance responses change between different types of sessions in professional players. This study investigated sweat and fluid/carbohydrate intake responses in elite male professional soccer players training at low and high intensities in cool and hot environments. Fluid/sodium (Na+) losses and ad-libitum carbohydrate/fluid intake of fourteen elite male soccer players were measured on four occasions: cool (wet bulb globe temperature (WBGT): 15 ± 7 °C, 66 ± 6% relative humidity (RH)) low intensity (rating of perceived exertion (RPE) 2-4, m·min-1 40-46) (CL); cool high intensity (RPE 6-8, m·min-1 82-86) (CH); hot (29 ± 1 °C, 52 ± 7% RH) low intensity (HL); hot high intensity (HH). Exercise involved 65 ± 5 min of soccer-specific training. Before and after exercise, players were weighed in minimal clothing. During training, players had ad libitum access to carbohydrate beverages and water. Sweat [Na+] (mmol·L-1), which was measured by absorbent patches positioned on the thigh, was no different between conditions, CL: 35 ± 9, CH: 38 ± 8, HL: 34 ± 70.17, HH: 38 ± 8 (p = 0.475). Exercise intensity and environmental condition significantly influenced sweat rates (L·h-1), CL: 0.55 ± 0.20, CH: 0.98 ± 0.21, HL: 0.81 ± 0.17, HH: 1.43 ± 0.23 (p =0.001), and percentage dehydration (p < 0.001). Fluid intake was significantly associated with sweat rate (p = 0.019), with no players experiencing hypohydration > 2% of pre-exercise body mass. Carbohydrate intake varied between players (range 0-38 g·h-1), with no difference between conditions. These descriptive data gathered on elite professional players highlight the variation in the hydration status, sweat rate, sweat Na+ losses, and carbohydrate intake in response to training in cool and hot environments and at low and high exercise intensities.

Nutrients (2021) 13(2): 401

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