Regression analysis of perceived stress among elite athletes from changes in diet, routine and well-being: Effects of the covid-19 lockdown and “bubble” training camps

Jad Adrian Washif*, Achraf Ammar, Khaled Trabelsi, Karim Chamari, Christabelle Sheau Miin Chong, Siti Fuzyma Ayu Mohd Kassim, Philip Chun Foong Lew, Abdulaziz Farooq, David B. Pyne, Carl James

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the lifestyles and training of elite athletes around the world. The detrimental effects of lockdown periods may vary among individuals, as well as among sports and sexes. This study investigated the changes in dietary habits, and the predictors of perceived stress during lockdown and a “bubble” training camp. This cross-sectional, online survey involved 76 elite and world-class athletes from six able-bodied sports and nine parasports, all of whom were involved in a 30-day “bubble” training camp. Questions were asked on socio-demographics, training routines and wellbeing, perceived stress, and dietary habits, pertaining to “normal” training (prelockdown), lockdown training, and “bubble” camp training periods. Changes in perceived stress were trivial to small during lockdown compared to “normal” training, and trivial to moderate during a “bubble” camp, compared to lockdown. Para-athletes, males, older athletes, less experienced athletes, married individuals, and specific ethnicities appeared to be more detrimentally affected (increased perceived stress) by lockdown. These negative experiences, however, were largely reversed during “bubble” camps. During lockdown, more athletes reported increased evening snack consumption (+8%), later meal-times (+6%), decreased fluid intake (−6%), and no breakfast (+7%). These changes were reversed during “bubble” camps (12–18% improvements). Sport classification accounted for 16% of the increased perceived stress (p = 0.001) during lockdown. Overall, socio-demographic factors, improvements in training routines, well-being, and dietary habits explained 28% of the decreased perceived stress during a “bubble” camp. In conclusion, better dietary habits, training routines and well-being have implications for reduced perceived stress. During lockdown, “bubble” camps may be beneficial, but this observation may be a case-by-case consideration, and short split “bubble” periods are recommended.

Original languageEnglish
Article number402
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number1
Early online date30 Dec 2021
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2022

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

User-Defined Keywords

  • Detraining
  • Emotion
  • Mental health
  • Olympic
  • Paralympic
  • Perception
  • Quarantine
  • Remote coaching
  • Sports nutrition
  • Training camp


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