PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to compare estimates of within-day energy deficits (WDED) and energy availability (EA) on training versus rest days and whether these measures were related on both days, within university-level endurance runners.
PARTICIPANTS: Ten healthy, long-distance runners aged 20.1 ± 1.5 years, were recruited from the University Athletics Club to participate in the study. The participants were informed of any risks and provided consent prior to starting.
METHODS: Height, body mass, and fat free mass were measured during an initial lab visit. The participants were then shown how to record one training and rest days’ worth of energy intake (EI) and exercise energy expenditure (EEE) data and given an accelerometer to measure non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT). After the training and rest day was completed and recorded by the participant, the equipment was returned to the lab. Data was then analysed to calculate WDED and EA.
RESULTS: Significant differences were found between training and rest day WDED (P < .001) and EA (P < .001). However, there was not a significant relationship between overall WDED and EA on either training (P = .380) or rest (P = .190) days.
CONCLUSION: The study did not find a relationship between WDED and EA. However, higher levels of energy deficiency were found on training days, indicating a need for better meal timing and fuelling strategies in endurance athletes.
Due to pandemic-related data collection restrictions, some of the data in this project may have been simulated
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