Endurance athletes are recommended to maintain energy balance and ensure adequate energy availability (EA) so that endurance performance is not compromised. Purpose: Describe and evaluate the energy balance of an athlete competing in a self-sufficient, multistage ultramarathon (MSU). Methods: A male endurance athlete (age 35 years; height 183.0 cm; body mass 78.4 kg; VO2max 66 ml/kg/min) volunteered to take part in this observational case study prior to competing in the Marathon des Sables (MdS) 2016. The subject self-reported energy intake (EI) by reviewing his dietary plan following each stage. Basal metabolic rate (BMR) was estimated prior to the MdS based on fat-free mass. Distance and moving speed were recorded using a GPS device throughout the race. Exercise energy expenditure (EEE) was calculated using the GPS device algorithm. Total energy expenditure (TEE) was calculated by adding the athlete’s BMR to the recorded EEE. Energy balance was calculated by subtracting EI from TEE. Results: Mean daily EI was 2946 ± 358 kcal and daily EEE was 3006 ± 1030 kcal. This resulted in a total energy deficit of 9609 kcal with a daily energy deficit of 1922 ± 952 kcal/day. The athlete did not report any subjective feelings of hunger at any point during the event. Conclusions: The athlete did not consume enough calories to meet estimated energy requirements, resulting in a negative energy balance and low EA throughout the event. Relying on subjective perception of hunger to modulate energy intake is an ineffective strategy during a MSU.
Hough, Paul A. and Earle, James
"Energy Balance During a Self-Sufficient, Multistage Ultramarathon,"
Journal of Human Performance in Extreme Environments: Vol. 13
Available at: https://docs.lib.purdue.edu/jhpee/vol13/iss1/5