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Sports Med Open. 2017 Dec;3(1):8. doi: 10.1186/s40798-017-0076-1. Epub 2017 Feb 4.

Total Energy Expenditure, Energy Intake, and Body Composition in Endurance Athletes Across the Training Season: A Systematic Review.

Author information

1
Swiss Federal Institute of Sport Magglingen SFISM, Hauptstrasse 247, 2532, Magglingen, Switzerland. juliane.heydenreich@googlemail.com.
2
Faculty of Biology and Medicine, University of Lausanne, Lausanne, 1015, Switzerland. juliane.heydenreich@googlemail.com.
3
Faculty of Biology and Medicine, University of Lausanne, Lausanne, 1015, Switzerland.
4
Faculty of Medicine, University of Fribourg, Fribourg, 1700, Switzerland.
5
Swiss Federal Institute of Sport Magglingen SFISM, Hauptstrasse 247, 2532, Magglingen, Switzerland.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Endurance athletes perform periodized training in order to prepare for main competitions and maximize performance. However, the coupling between alterations of total energy expenditure (TEE), energy intake, and body composition during different seasonal training phases is unclear. So far, no systematic review has assessed fluctuations in TEE, energy intake, and/or body composition in endurance athletes across the training season. The purpose of this study was to (1) systematically analyze TEE, energy intake, and body composition in highly trained athletes of various endurance disciplines and of both sexes and (2) analyze fluctuations in these parameters across the training season.

METHODS:

An electronic database search was conducted on the SPORTDiscus and MEDLINE (January 1990-31 January 2015) databases using a combination of relevant keywords. Two independent reviewers identified potentially relevant studies. Where a consensus was not reached, a third reviewer was consulted. Original research articles that examined TEE, energy intake, and/or body composition in 18-40-year-old endurance athletes and reported the seasonal training phases of data assessment were included in the review. Articles were excluded if body composition was assessed by skinfold measurements, TEE was assessed by questionnaires, or data could not be split between the sexes. Two reviewers assessed the quality of studies independently. Data on subject characteristics, TEE, energy intake, and/or body composition were extracted from the included studies. Subjects were categorized according to their sex and endurance discipline and each study allocated a weight within categories based on the number of subjects assessed. Extracted data were used to calculate weighted means and standard deviations for parameters of TEE, energy intake, and/or body composition.

RESULTS:

From 3589 citations, 321 articles were identified as potentially relevant, with 82 meeting all of the inclusion criteria. TEE of endurance athletes was significantly higher during the competition phase than during the preparation phase (p < 0.001) and significantly higher than energy intake in both phases (p < 0.001). During the competition phase, both body mass and fat-free mass were significantly higher compared to other seasonal training phases (p < 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS:

Limitations of the present study included insufficient data being available for all seasonal training phases and thus low explanatory power of single parameters. Additionally, the classification of the different seasonal training phases has to be discussed. Male and female endurance athletes show important training seasonal fluctuations in TEE, energy intake, and body composition. Therefore, dietary intake recommendations should take into consideration other factors including the actual training load, TEE, and body composition goals of the athlete.

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