To evaluate the feasibility of on-site collection of subjective anxiety, autonomic nervous system activity, and salivary catecholamines surrounding high-intensity functional training (HIFT) competition, ten experienced HIFT competitors completed baseline assessments of anxiety and heart rate variability (HRV). Then, in two consecutive weeks (Workout 1 and 2) within the competition, HRV was recorded and examined in 5-min segments prior to exercise (PRE) and across a 30-min period after competitors completed their choice of the prescribed or scaled each workout. Subjective anxiety ratings and saliva samples were collected at PRE and immediately-(IP), 30-min (30P), and 60-min post-exercise (60P). Saliva samples were analyzed for concentrations of epinephrine and norepinephrine. Generalized linear mixed models with repeated measures revealed significant (p
< 0.05) differences between workouts for all measures. Compared to Workout 1, anxiety (~50%), epinephrine (173–340%), norepinephrine (29–234%) were greater in Workout 2 and various HRV-derived indices were more depressed. Additionally, some HRV-derived indices appeared to be modulated (p
< 0.05) by competitive level and sex at PRE and throughout the 30-min recovery period. These data suggest that autonomic activity may differ between the competitive and laboratory settings, and that the response may be further modulated by the workout’s design, the athlete’s sex, and competitive level.
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