Estimated energy balance of international female rugby sevens players in training and competition scenarios

Christopher Curtis, Nicola Arjomandkhah, Carlton Cooke, Mark Russell

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


    Rugby sevens is a contact sport comprising of two teams of seven players who compete over two 7-min halves. Rugby sevens players experience accentuated loads during match-play, with mean total distances of ∼113–120 m·min-1 covered. Likewise, ∼30% of total match distances are covered at speeds ≥5 m·s-1, while 39% more high velocity (≥4 m·s-2) accelerations are performed when players compete in international tournaments. Accordingly, to facilitate optimised performance during match-play and realisation of training-induced adaptations, the energy balance of rugby sevens players needs consideration. However, limited data currently exists regarding the energy intake (EI) and expenditure (EE) of rugby sevens players in both training and competitive scenarios, especially in the case of female players. Therefore, this two-part study aimed to estimate EI and EE in international female rugby sevens players during a) a training camp (n = 11), and b) an international competition (n = 8) held within 14 days of each other. Tri-axial accelerometers (Actigraph wGT3X-BT, USA) and 5-day food diaries (quantifying portion sizes using household measures) facilitated estimation of EE and EI, respectively. Activity-based EE was combined with body mass-derived estimates of resting EE to estimate total daily EE (TDEE). Energy deficits of -47% (TDEETraining: 3502±400 kcal·d-1, EITraining: 1859±221 kcal·d-1, p≤0.001, d=5.1) and -50% (TDEECompetition: 3706±391 kcal·d-1, EICompetition: 1857±243 kcal·d-1,p≤0.001, d=5.7) were observed throughout training and competition. Similarly, CHO intakes were lower than sports nutrition recommendations in training (-62%; 2.3±0.3 g·kg-1·BM-1, p≤0.001) and competitive (-60%; 2.4±0.5 g·kg-1·BM-1, p≤0.001) scenarios whereas for protein (1.7±0.4g·kg-1·BM-1, 1.5±0.1 g·kg-1·BM-1) and fat (35±5%, 39±6% total energy) intakes exceeded the lower range of recommendations in both training and competition, respectively. In international female rugby sevens players, these findings indicate that estimated EE exceeds EI in both competition and training and that carbohydrate and fat intakes are less than optimal when compared to current performance-based sports nutrition recommendations.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationInternational Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism
    Subtitle of host publicationAbstracts from the December 2018 International Sports and Exercise Nutrition Conference
    PublisherHuman Kinetics
    Publication statusPublished - 3 May 2019


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