Andy Sparks

Andy Sparks
Edge Hill University · Sports Nutrition and Performance Research Group - Department of Sport and Physical Activity

PhD

About

122
Publications
35,966
Reads
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1,302
Citations
Introduction
I'm currently working in the Sports Nutrition and Performance Research Group, part of the Department of Sport and Physical Activity at Edge Hill University. My research interest is primarily in endurance exercise performance, especially cycling and running. My work mainly focuses on the acute factors that affect sport and exercise performance, either via nutritional interventions or by manipulating environmental factors.
Additional affiliations
August 2018 - present
Edge Hill University
Position
  • Lecturer
April 2009 - July 2018
Edge Hill University
Position
  • Lecturer
August 2007 - April 2009
University of Cumbria
Position
  • Lecturer
Education
September 1998 - April 2004
Liverpool John Moores University
Field of study
  • Exercise Physiology

Publications

Publications (122)
Article
Full-text available
Purpose To evaluate the effects of probiotic supplementation on gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms, circulatory markers of GI permeability, damage, and markers of immune response during a marathon race. Methods Twenty-four recreational runners were randomly assigned to either supplement with a probiotic (PRO) capsule [25 billion CFU Lactobacillus acid...
Article
Full-text available
In this Position Statement, the International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN) provides an objective and critical review of the literature pertinent to nutritional considerations for training and racing in single-stage ultra-marathon. Recommendations for Training. i) Ultra-marathon runners should aim to meet the caloric demands of training by fol...
Article
Enteric-formulated capsules can mitigate gastrointestinal (GI) side effects following sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO 3 ) ingestion; however, it remains unclear how encapsulation alters postingestion symptoms and acid–base balance. The current study aimed to identify the optimal ingestion form to mitigate GI distress following NaHCO 3 ingestion. Trained...
Article
Full-text available
Objectives This study aimed to investigate whether supplementation with 12 mg⋅day⁻¹ astaxanthin for 7 days can improve exercise performance and metabolism during a 40 km cycling time trial. Design A randomised, double-blind, crossover design was employed. Methods Twelve recreationally trained male cyclists (VO2peak: 56.5 ± 5.5 mL⋅ kg⁻¹⋅ min⁻¹, Wm...
Article
Full-text available
Rugby is characterized by frequent high-intensity collisions, resulting in muscle soreness. Players consequently seek strategies to reduce soreness and accelerate recovery, with an emerging method being cannabidiol (CBD), despite anti-doping risks. The prevalence and rationale for CBD use in rugby has not been explored; therefore, we recruited prof...
Article
Full-text available
Strict lockdown measures were introduced in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which caused mass disruption to adolescent swimmers’ daily routines. To measure how lockdown impacted nutritional practices in this cohort, three-day photograph food diaries were analysed at three time points: before (January), during (April), and after (September) the f...
Chapter
During any physiological testing, an assessor has a duty of care to the individuals under his/her supervision. In this context, duty of care represents a formalisation of the social responsibilities that individuals, laboratories and organisations have to research participants, patients or clients in their care. This chapter provides clear guidelin...
Chapter
The processes involved in data collection and participant, patient or client assessment in exercise physiology present unique challenges for researchers, clinicians and practitioners – collectively referred to as assessors from this point onwards. The need to collect data in diverse environments that are often less controlled than a traditional lab...
Article
Full-text available
As a nitric oxide (NO) enhancer, citrulline malate (CM) has recently been touted as a potential ergogenic aid to both resistance and high-intensity exercise performance, as well as the recovery of muscular performance. The mechanism has been associated with enhanced blood flow to active musculature, however, it might be more far-reaching as either...
Article
Full-text available
Few data are available that describe how probiotics influence systemic metabolism during endurance exercise. Metabolomic profiling of endurance athletes will elucidate mechanisms by which probiotics may confer benefits to the athlete. In this study, twenty-four runners (20 male, 4 female) were block randomised into two groups using a double-blind m...
Article
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The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of a seven-week nutrition education intervention on the sports nutrition knowledge (SNK) of highly trained UK adolescent swimmers. Fifteen national and international adolescent swimmers (males = 5; females = 10, 15.5 ± 1.1 years, 170.2 ± 7.5 cm, 60.3 ± 5.7 kg) participated in the study during seven...
Article
Full-text available
The timing of sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3) supplementation has been suggested to be most optimal when coincided with a personal time that bicarbonate (HCO3-) or pH peaks in the blood following ingestion. However, the ergogenic mechanisms supporting this ingestion strategy are strongly contested. It is therefore plausible that NaHCO3 may be ergogenic...
Article
To compare the pharmokinetic and gastrointestinal (GI) symptom responses between an equal dose of sodium bicarbonate and sodium citrate using delayed-release capsules. Thirteen active males (age 20.5 ± 2.1 y, height 1.82 ± 0.1 m and body mass 76.5 ± 9.6 kg) consumed either 0.3 g.kg−1 BM sodium bicarbonate, sodium citrate or a placebo, using a doubl...
Preprint
Full-text available
Background Contemporary research suggests that the optimal timing of sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO 3 ) should be based upon an individual time in which bicarbonate (HCO 3 ⁻ ) or pH peaks within the blood. However, the mechanisms surrounding acidosis on exercise performance are contested, therefore it is plausible that the ergogenic effects of NaHCO 3 a...
Article
Full-text available
The remote food photography method (RFPM), often referred to as ‘Snap-N-Send’ by sport nutritionists, has been reported as a valid method to assess energy intake in athletic populations. However, preliminary studies were not conducted in true free-living conditions and dietary assessment was performed by one researcher only. We therefore assessed t...
Article
Full-text available
Introduction: Sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO 3 ) is a well-established nutritional ergogenic aid that is typically ingested as a beverage or consumed in gelatine capsules. While capsules may delay the release of NaHCO 3 and reduce gastrointestinal (GI) side effects compared with a beverage, it is currently unclear whether the capsule size may influence...
Article
Full-text available
Background Stroboscopic visual training (SVT) has been shown to improve cognitive skills and perceptual performance by carrying out events under situations of intermittent vision. Aims The aim of this study was to investigate whether an SVT training period could improve the eye–hand coordination (EHC) performance on a practiced task for a group of...
Article
Full-text available
This study investigated the effects of two sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3) doses on estimated energy system contribution and performance during an intermittent high-intensity cycling test (HICT), and time-to-exhaustion (TTE) exercise. Twelve healthy males (stature: 1.75 ± 0.08 m; body mass: 67.5 ± 6.3 kg; age: 21.0 ± 1.4 years; maximal oxygen consumpti...
Article
Full-text available
PurposeEnteric-coated sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3) can attenuate gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms following acute bicarbonate loading, although the subsequent effects on exercise performance have not been investigated. The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of enteric-coated NaHCO3 supplementation on high-intensity exercise performance a...
Article
Background: In the elderly, low protein intake exacerbates the effects of sarcopenia and anabolic resistance. Protein supplementation to maximise muscle protein synthesis, may be an effective intervention. Aim: To determine the effects of a low/high dose of protein, ingested immediately post-exercise, during resistance training in novice elderly m...
Conference Paper
The use of post-exercise sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3) to promote recovery and improve subsequent exercise performance is an emerging ergogenic strategy, which is due to the potential to increase recovery of blood pH and bicarbonate (HCO3−) between two bouts of exercise. Such increases could improve removal of hydrogen ions (H+) and provide a greater...
Article
Full-text available
Research investigating nutritional ergogenic aid strategies that delay the occurrence of metabolic acidosis during high intensity exercise have been widely investigated. The exogenous enhancement of the bicarbonate (HCO3-) buffering system is believed to offset fatigue, by attenuating hydrogen cation (H+) increases. Ingestion of sodium bicarbonate...
Article
Full-text available
The aim of this study was to assess the effects of post-exercise sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3) ingestion (0.3 g.kg-1 body mass) on the recovery of acid-base balance (pH, HCO 3 - , and the SID) and subsequent exercise performance in elite boxers. Seven elite male professional boxers performed an initial bout of exhaustive exercise comprising of a...
Chapter
This chapter explores the use of exogenous buffering agents as possible ergogenic aids. A review of the recent developments in the use of sodium bicarbonate, sodium citrate and sodium phosphate are discussed in relation to the most effective strategies, applications and their potential mechanisms of ergogenicity. The potential safety and legality o...
Article
Resistance exercise is a widely-used method of physical training in both recreational exercise and athletic populations. The use of training partners and spotters during resistance exercise is widespread, but little is known about the effect of the presence of these individuals on exercise performance. The purpose of the current study was to invest...
Article
Full-text available
This review examines the issues surrounding soccer nutrition, including the nature of the game, training, and how nutrition can play a significant role in improving player performance and recovery. In soccer match-play, a total distance covered of up to 13 km is characterised by an acyclical and intermittent activity profile. The aerobic system is...
Article
This study evaluated the chronic effects of nitrate (NO3⁻) ingestion over three days, on 40 km TT performance in 11trained cyclists (VO2max: 60.8 ± 7.4 ml.kg⁻¹.min⁻¹; age: 36 ± 9 years; height: 1.80 ± 0.06 m; body mass: 87.2 ± 12.0 kg). Utilising a double-blind randomised cross-over design, participants completed three 40 km TT on a Velotron® ergom...
Article
Full-text available
Background Sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3) is a well-established nutritional ergogenic aid, though gastrointestinal (GI) distress is a common side-effect. Delayed-release NaHCO3 may alleviate GI symptoms and enhance bicarbonate bioavailability following oral ingestion, although this has yet to be confirmed. Methods In a randomised crossover design, ph...
Article
This study investigated the effects of two separate doses of sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3) on 4 km time trial (TT) cycling performance and post-exercise acid base balance recovery in hypoxia. Fourteen club-level cyclists completed four cycling TT’s, followed by a 40 min passive recovery in normobaric hypoxic conditions (FiO2 = 14.5%) following one of...
Conference Paper
The reasons for suboptimal nutritional intake within ultra-endurance competitions are not fully understood. Therefore, the current programme of research discusses the findings from a series of studies that explored the factors that influence the competitive food choices of ultra-endurance athletes. Study 1 indicated that nutrition knowledge was not...
Article
Wrist-based accelerometers are now common in assessing physical activity (PA) and sedentary behaviour (SB) in population-based studies, but there is a scarcity of raw acceleration cutpoints in older adults. The study aimed to determine and evaluate wrist-based GENEActiv (GA) and hip-based ActiGraph GT3X+ (AG) raw acceleration cutpoints for SB and m...
Article
Full-text available
Purpose Exacerbated hydrogen cation (H⁺) production is suggested to be a key determinant of fatigue in acute hypoxic conditions. This study, therefore, investigated the effects of NaHCO3 ingestion on repeated 4 km TT cycling performance and post-exercise acid–base balance recovery in acute moderate hypoxic conditions. Methods Ten male trained cycl...
Conference Paper
Acute sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3) supplementation has been widely used in an attempt to improve sports performance. However, the efficacy of this supplement in an acute, moderately hypoxic environment remains equivocal however, with respect to both performance enhancement and the recovery rate of post-exercise acid-base balance. The aim of this stu...
Article
Inadequate nutritional intake has been reported during ultra-endurance training and competition. While substandard nutritional knowledge may contribute to inappropriate nutritional choices, the relationship between these variables is often weak. As such, this study investigated the importance of a range of factors to the food choices of ultra-endur...
Conference Paper
The use of sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3) as an ergogenic aid has been widespread in athletic populations where high intensity, relatively short duration activity, is an important component of performance. The traditional ingestion time for this pre-exercise ergogenic buffering agent, is typically between 60-120 minutes before the start of exercise, u...
Article
Bridge, CA, Sparks, SA, McNaughton, LR, Close, GL, Hausen, M, Gurgel, J, and Drust, B. Repeated exposure to taekwondo combat modulates the physiological and hormonal responses to subsequent bouts and recovery periods. J Strength Cond Res XX(X): 000-000, 2018-This study examined the physiological and hormonal responses to successive taekwondo combat...
Article
The nutritional intake of ultra-endurance athletes during competition is often poorly matched with energy requirements. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to assess the sports nutrition knowledge of ultra-endurance athletes. Knowledge was assessed using a modified, valid and reliable sports nutrition questionnaire. Four independent assessors...
Article
Full-text available
Acute moderate hypoxic exposure can substantially impair exercise performance, which occurs with a concurrent exacerbated rise in hydrogen cation (H+) production. The purpose of this study was therefore, to alleviate this acidic stress through sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3) supplementation and determine the corresponding effects on severe intensity in...
Article
Soccer presents a metabolic challenge which is not necessarily matched by players’ habitual dietary intake. To examine the effects of a bespoke diet, 22 players completed the Ball Sport Endurance and Sprint Test (BEAST90mod) protocol, followed by 4 days of regulated nutritional intake. The diet consisted of 10 g∙kg−1 body mass (BM) and 1.7 g∙kg−1 B...
Article
Full-text available
During periods of heavy exercise training and competition, lipid, protein and nucleic molecules can become damaged due to an overproduction of reactive oxygen and nitrogen species within the exercising organism. As antioxidants can prevent and delay cellular oxidative damage through removing, deactivating and preventing the formation of reactive ox...
Article
Objective: To quantify the effects of acute hypoxic exposure on exercise capacity and performance, which includes continuous and intermittent forms of exercise. Design: A systematic review was conducted with a three-level mixed effects meta-regression. The ratio of means method was used to evaluate main effects and moderators providing practical in...
Article
A number of companies are marketing general eye–hand coordination training devices, which are purported to enhance performance on the device and in a sporting domain. An act comprising eye–hand coordination involves the complex combination of a number of distinct functions, and an investigation of what tasks share this common factor has not been co...
Article
Full-text available
The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3) on 4 km cycling time trial (TT) performance when individualised to a predetermined time to peak blood bicarbonate (HCO3−). Eleven male trained cyclists volunteered for this study (height 1.82 ± 0.80 m, body mass (BM) 86.4 ± 12.9 kg, age 32 ± 9 years, peak power outp...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Current evidence suggests sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3) should be ingested based upon the individualised alkalotic peak of either blood pH or bicarbonate (HCO3−) because of large inter-individual variations (10–180 min). If such a strategy is to be practical, the blood analyte response needs to be reproducible. Objective: This study aimed...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Individual time to peak blood bicarbonate (HCO3(-)) has demonstrated good to excellent reproducibility following ingestion of both 0.2 g kg(-1) body mass (BM) and 0.3 g kg(-1) BM sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3), but the consistency of the time trial (TT) performance response using such an individualised NaHCO3 ingestion strategy remains un...
Article
Full-text available
Purpose: This study investigated the effect of induced alkalosis on the curvature constant (W’) of the power-duration relationship under normoxic and hypoxic conditions. Methods: Eleven trained cyclists (mean ± SD) Age: 32 ± 7.2 years; body mass (bm): 77.0 ± 9.2 kg; VO2peak: 59.2 ± 6.8 ml·kg−1·min−1 completed seven laboratory visits which involved...
Conference Paper
PURPOSE: Recently it has been suggested, that an individualised sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3) ingestion strategy might be the most appropriate method to elicit a state of peak alkalosis. Such a strategy can then be used to “marry up” time to peak alkalosis with the performance required. However, such ingestion strategies have displayed large inter-in...
Article
Full-text available
Purpose: To use eye-tracking technology to directly compare information acquisition behavior of experienced and novice cyclists during a self-paced 10 mile (16.1 km) time-trial. Method: Two groups of novice (N=10) and experienced cyclists (N=10) performed a 10-mile self-paced time-trial (TT) on two separate occasions during which a number of feedb...
Article
Full-text available
Laboratory based cycling time trials (TT) are widely used by both researchers and practitioners, as a method of assessing cycling performance in a controlled environment. Assessments of performance often use TT durations or distances between 20 min and one hour and in the UK the 10 mile (16.1 km) TT is the most frequently used race distance for tra...
Article
This study determined variability in time-to-peak pH after consumption of 300 mg kg(-)(1) of sodium bicarbonate. Seventeen participants (mean ± SD: age 21.38 ± 1.5 years; mass 75.8 ± 5.8 kg; height 176.8 ± 7.6 cm) reported to the laboratory where a resting capillary sample was taken. Then, 300 mg kg(-1) of NaHCO3 in 450 ml of flavoured water was in...
Article
Full-text available
Stretching, either prior to exercise or at the end, or both, is typically carried out by all individuals undertaking sporting activity whether they be elite or recreational athletes. The many forms of stretching available to the athlete, either passive or active, have long been thought to improve performance, decrease injury and generally be advant...
Article
Full-text available
Little is currently known regarding competitor influence on pacing at the start of an event and in particular the subsequent effect on the remaining distance. The purpose of the present study was to investigate the influence of starting pace on the physiological and psychological responses during cycling time trials (TT) utilizing an innovative app...
Conference Paper
Critical power (CP) demarcates the boundary between heavy and severe exercise intensities. The severe exercise intensi- ties, between CP and VO2peak, are described by W′, which represents the work capacity above CP. Determinants of W′, and associated limitations to high-intensity exercise above CP, are not fully understood. Therefore, the purpose o...
Conference Paper
Sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3) is ingested 60–90 min prior to exercise to elicit peak alkalosis. Recent evidence has shown an inter-individual variation following an individua- lised ingestion strategy (range 10–180 min). Nonetheless, it remains to be elucidated whether the HCO3− and pH response are reproducible following NaHCO3 ingestion on more than...
Article
Full-text available
Taurine (TAU) has been shown to improve exercise time to exhaustion and 3-km running performance; however, no studies have considered the effect of acute TAU ingestion on short duration cycling time trial (TT) performance. The aim of this study was to determine the effects of a single oral acute dose of 1000 mg of TAU on a laboratory simulated 4-km...
Article
Full-text available
Purpose: Supplementation with dietary forms of vitamin D is commonplace in clinical medicine, elite athletic cohorts and the general population, yet the response of all major vitamin D metabolites to high doses of vitamin D is poorly characterized. We aimed to identify the responses of all major vitamin D metabolites to moderate and high dose suppl...
Article
Full-text available
Objectives: Feedback deception is used to explore the importance of expectations on pacing strategy and performance in self-paced exercise. The deception of feedback from a previous performance explores the importance of experience knowledge on exercise behaviour. This study aimed to explore the acute and residual effects of the deception of previo...