Inertial Sensors to Estimate the Energy Expenditure of Team-Sport Athletes

Walker E.J., McAinch A.J., Sweeting A., Aughey R.J.

Objectives: To quantify the energy expenditure (EE) of Australian Football (AF) training and matches and the total daily energy expenditure (TDEE) of AF players using tri-axial accelerometers.

Design: Cross sectional observation study.

Methods: An algorithm was developed for the MiniMax 4.0 (Catapult Innovations, Scoresby Australia) using measured oxygen uptake and accelerometer data to estimate EE of 18 AF players during training and matches. The algorithm was used to validate a metabolic power calculation used by Catapult Innovations (Scoresby Australia) in their proprietary GPS software. The SenseWear™ (Model MF-SW, Bodymedia, Pittsburgh, PA) armband was used to determine non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT) and was worn for 7 days leading into a match. Training, match, and NEAT data were summed for TDEE.

Results: EE for field training was estimated to be 2,719 ± 666 kJ and for matches to be 5,745 ± 1,468 kJ. The estimated EE in the current study showed a large correlation (r = 0.57, 90% CI 0.06 – 0.84) with the metabolic power calculation. The mean TDEE for an in-season main training day was approximately 18,504 kJ and match day approximately 19,160 kJ with NEAT contributing approximately 85% and 69% on training and match days, respectively.

Conclusions: The MiniMax 4.0 and SenseWear™ armband accelerometers provide a practical, non-invasive, and effective method to successfully measure training and match EE, and NEAT in field sport athletes. Taking methodological limitations into consideration, measuring energy expenditure allows for individualised nutrition programming to enhance performance and achieve body composition goals.

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