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PubMed | 4 Scottish Universities Environmental Research Center, University of Oxford, 3 Frimley Park Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and 2 Royal Army Medical Corps
Type: | Journal: International journal of sports physiology and performance | Year: 2016

Meeting the energy demands of prolonged arduous expeditions and endurance sport may be a significant barrier to success. Expedition rowing is associated with high levels of body mass loss, reflecting the challenge of meeting energy expenditure in this exacting environment. This study used the Doubly Labelled Water (DLW) technique to calculate the Total Energy Expenditure (TEE), and body composition changes of two 28-year-old healthy male athletes during a 50-day continuous and unsupported row around Great Britain.A measured dose of DLW was taken at the start of two separate study periods (days five to 19 and 34 to 48) followed by sequential urine collection, which was analysed on return to land.Mean TEE was 15.3MJ/day: Athlete 1 16.4MJ/day, Athlete 2 14.9MJ/day. Athlete 1 lost 11.2kg and Athlete 2 lost 14.9kg of body mass during the row. Average energy provision was 19.1MJ per 24-hour ration pack.These results highlight the difficulty of maintaining energy balance during expedition rowing. A starvation state was observed despite dietary provision in excess of estimated energy expenditure, indicating nutritional strategy rather than caloric availability was at fault. We recommend future expeditions prioritise thorough testing and the individualisation of rations to ensure they are both palatable and practical during the weeks to months at sea.

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