Presented at Liverpool John Moore University for the British Association of Sport & Exercise Science (BASES) Student Conference - 31 March - 1 April 2015, 40 years of Sport and Exercise Science: A History in the Making.
Rimmer, S. & Higgins, M.F. (2015). The effects of sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3) on exercise induced acid-base recovery kinetics and subsequent boxing and endurance performance.
Background: Boxers perform repeated bouts of training on a daily basis and thus are likely to benefit from nutritional interventions that augment post-exercise recovery before subsequent training.
Purpose: To examine the influence of sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3) on post-exercise acid-base recovery kinetics and subsequent boxing and endurance performance in trained individuals.
Method: Seven (n=7) male professional boxers (age 27± 5 years, body mass [bm] 72 ± 10 kg, height, 176 ± 6 cm, VO2PEAK 55.8 ± 11.4 ml/kg/min-1) from various boxing weight divisions (flyweight through to super middleweight) performed an incremental test to exhaustion (VO2PEAK), a familiarisation trial and two experimental trials. To imitate the physical demands of 3 x 4 minute (min) rounds, these trials consisted of a high intensity interval run (HIIR) alternating between speeds equivalent to 90% and 75% VO2PEAK, separated by 60 seconds (s) active recovery immediately, followed by running to volitional exhaustion (TTE1) at a speed equivalent to 90% VO2PEAK. Using a double-blind approach ten “min” post-exercise 0.3g·kg-1 bm of NaHCO3 or 0.1g·kg-1 bm of sodium chloride placebo (PLAC) was ingested preceding a further sixty “min” recovery. Subsequently, using standardised punch precise combinations, 3 x 3 “min” boxing rounds separated by one “min” recovery were performed on focus pads immediately followed by a second run to exhaustion (TTE2) at a speed equivalent to 90% VO2PEAK.
Results: NaHCO3 ingestion significantly increased endurance capacity (TTE2) post-recovery by 15% (471s vs. 401s; P = 0.022) vs PLAC. During subsequent boxing performance there were no significant differences reported for heart rate (P = 0.137), overall ratings of perceived exertion (RPEO; P = 0.446), or perceived exertion localised to the arms (RPEA; P = 0.552). Blood lactate (P = 0.014), pH (P = 0.004), [HCO3-], (P = < 0.001) and base excess (P = 0.001) were greater in all NaHCO3 trials. Ratings of abdominal discomfort (P = 0.036) and gut fullness (P = 0.199) were low but slightly higher for NaHCO3.
Conclusion: Ingestion of 0.3g·kg-1 bm NaHCO3 significantly elevated blood buffering capacity during post-exercise recovery. This improvement in acid-base recovery kinetics is likely to have played a significant role in attenuating fatigue and thus improving subsequent high intensity endurance performance in professional boxers. This nutritional strategy is likely to have particular relevance to boxers performing repeated bouts of training on a daily basis. Further research examining NaHCO3 as a recovery aid is warranted in other athletic populations.