Data_Sheet_1_In Athletes, the Diurnal Variations in Maximum Oxygen Uptake Are More Than Twice as Large as the Day-to-Day Variations.PDF
In competitive sports any substantial individual differences in diurnal variations in maximal performance are highly relevant. Previous studies have exclusively focused on how the time of day affects performance and disregarded the maximal individual diurnal variation of performance. Thus, the aims of this study were (1) to investigate the maximum diurnal variation in maximum oxygen uptake (VO2max), (2) to compare the diurnal variation of VO2max during the day to the day-to-day variation in VO2max, and (3) to investigate if there is a time-of-day effect on VO2max. Ten male and seven female athletes (mean VO2max: 58.2 ± 6.9 ml/kg/min) performed six maximal cardiopulmonary exercise tests including a verification-phase at six different times of the day (i.e., diurnal variation) and a seventh test at the same time the sixth test took place (i.e., day-to-day variation). The test times were 7:00, 10:00, 13:00, 16:00, 19:00, and 21:00. The order of exercise tests was the same for all participants to ensure sufficient recovery but the time of day of the first exercise test was randomized. We used paired t-tests to compare the nadir and peak of diurnal variations, day-to-day variations and the difference between diurnal and day-to-day variations. The mean difference in VO2max was 5.0 ± 1.9 ml/kg/min (95% CI: 4.1, 6.0) for the diurnal variation and 2.0 ± 1.0 ml/kg/min (95% CI: 1.5, 2.5) for the day-to-day variation. The diurnal variation was significantly higher than the day-to-day variation with a mean difference of 3.0 ± 2.1 ml/kg/min (95% CI: 1.9, 4.1). The linear mixed effects model revealed no significant differences in VO2max for any pairwise comparison between the different times of the day (all p > 0.11). This absence of a time-of-day effect is explained by the fact that peak VO2max was achieved at different times of the day by different athletes. The diurnal variations have meaningful implications for competitive sports and need to be considered by athletes. However, the results are also relevant to research. To increase signal-to-noise-ratio in intervention studies it is necessary to conduct cardiopulmonary exercise testing at the same time of the day for pre- and post-intervention exercise tests.