Dr Stephen Mears


  • Senior Lecturer in Sports & Exercise Nutrition

Stephen gained his undergraduate degree in in Sport and Exercise Science in 2008 at the University of Bath. He completed a placement year as part of the degree, working at the British Olympic Medical Institute and studying at the University of Wollongong in Australia. Stephen completed his PhD at Loughborough University in 2012 examining fluid intake behaviours in the workplace and following high intensity exercise.

Following his PhD, Stephen worked for Powerade as a Sports Scientist at the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. He then returned to Loughborough, first as a technician and then to work on a project examining medical care at endurance events around the world.

Stephen is a middle distance runner, competing for Charnwood AC and Harrow AC over 800m and 1500m. He is yet to step up to the marathon but is tempted to start soon after the visits to the Marathon Majors during 2014. He is also a keen tennis player, golfer and skier (and sometimes cyclist).

Stephen’s overall research focus examines nutritional interventions for health and performance in endurance exercise. His two main areas of research are i) hydration and renal health/function and ii) the influence of carbohydrate metabolism and hypohydration on exercise performance with both areas including environmental physiology.

Stephen has presented at several International Conferences. He currently sits on the research board for the International Institute for Race Medicine, for which he also authored the Marathon Medical Care Manual. He is a member of the medical groups for GSi Race Events and the Joe Humphries Memorial Trust.

Featured publications

  • Reynolds, K.M., Clifford, T., Mears, S.A. & James, L.J. (2022). A food first approach to carbohydrate supplementation in endurance exercise: A systematic review. Int J Sports Nutr Ex Metab, Mar, 1-15.
  • Juett, L.A., Midwood, K.L., Funnell, M.P., James, L.J. & Mears, S.A. (2021). Hypohydration produced by high-intensity intermittent running increases biomarkers of renal injury in males. Eur J Appl Physiol, 121(12), 3485-3497.
  • Juett, L.A., James, L.J. & Mears, S.A. (2020). Effects of exercise on Acute Kidney Injury biomarkers and the potential influence of fluid intake. Ann Nutr Metab, Suppl 1, 53-59.
  • Mears, S.A., Boxer, B., Sheldon, D., Wardley, H., Tarnowski, C.A., James, L.J. & Hulston, C.J. (2020). Sports drink intake pattern affects exogenous carbohydrate oxidation during running. Med Sci Sports Exerc, [e-pub].
  • Mears, S.A., Worley, J., Mason, G.S., Hulston C.J. & James, L.J. (2020). Addition of sodium alginate and pectin to a carbohydrate-electrolyte solution does not influence substrate oxidation, gastrointestinal comfort of cycling performance. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab, 45(6), 675-678.
  • James, L.J., Funnell, M.P., James, R.M. & Mears, S.A. (2019). Does hypohydration really impair performance? Methodological considerations for interpreting hydration research. Sports Med, 49(Suppl 2), 103-114.
  • Funnell, M.P., Mears, S.A., Bergin-Taylor, K. & James, L.J. (2019). Blinded and unblinded hypohydration similarly impair cycling time trial performance in the heat in trained cyclists. J of Appl Physiol, 126(4), 870-879.
  • Scott, B., Laursen, P., James, L.J., Boxer, B., Chandler, Z., Lam, E., Gascoyne, T., Messenger, J. & Mears, S.A. (2019). The effect of 1,3-butanediol and carbohydrate supplementation on running performance. J Sci Med Sport, 22(6), 702-706.
  • Whatmough, S., Mears, S.A. & Kipps, C. (2018). Serum sodium changes in marathon participants who use NSAIDs. BMJ Open Sport Exerc Med, 4(1).
  • James, L.J., Moss, J., Henry, J., Papadopoulou, C. and Mears, S.A. (2017). Hypohydration impairs performance: a blinded study. Physiol Rep, 5(12), e13315.
  • Beaumont, R., Cordery, P., Funnell, M., Mears, S.A., James, L.J. & Watson, P. (2017). Chronic ingestion of a low dose of caffeine induces tolerance to the performance benefits of caffeine. J Sports Sci, 35(19), 1920-1927.
  • Mears, S.A., Watson, P. & Shirreffs, S.M. (2016). The effect on serum osmolality following high intensity intermittent exercise when access to ad libitum water intake was permitted, not permitted or delayed. Physiol Behav, 157, 47-54.
  • Watson, P., Whale, A., Mears, S.A., Reyner, L.A. & Maughan, R.J. (2015). Mild hypohydration increases the frequency of driver errors during a prolonged, monotonous driving task. Physiol Behav, 147, 313-318.
  • Mears, S.A. & Shirreffs, S.M. (2015). Assessing hydration status and reported beverage intake in the workplace. Am J Lifestyle Med, 9(2), 157-168.
  • Mears, S.A. & Shirreffs, S.M. (2013). The effects of high intensity intermittent exercise compared with continuous exercise on voluntary water ingestion. Int J Sports Nutr Exerc Metab, 23(5), 488-497.