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Rapid carbohydrate loading after a short bout of near maximal-intensity exercise

Fairchild, T.J.ORCID: 0000-0002-3975-2213, Fletcher, S., Steele, P., Goodman, C., Dawson, B. and Fournier, P.A. (2002) Rapid carbohydrate loading after a short bout of near maximal-intensity exercise. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 34 (6). pp. 980-986.

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Purpose: One limitation shared by all published carbohydrate-loading regimens is that 2-6 d are required for the attainment of supranormal muscle glycogen levels. Because high rates of glycogen resynthesis are reported during recovery from exercise of near-maximal intensity and that these rates could in theory allow muscle to attain supranormal glycogen levels in less than 24 h, the purpose of this study was to examine whether a combination of a short bout of high-intensity exercise with 1 d of a high-carbohydrate intake offers the basis for an improved carbohydrate-loading regimen.

Methods: Seven endurance-trained athletes cycled for 150 s at 130% V̇O2peak followed by 30 s of all-out cycling. During the following 24 h, each subject was asked to ingest 12 g·kg-1 of lean body mass (the equivalent of 10.3 g·kg-1 body mass) of high-carbohydrate foods with a high glycemic index.

Results: Muscle glycogen increased from preloading levels (± SE) of 109.1 ± 8.2 to 198.2 ± 13.1 mmol·kg-1 wet weight within only 24 h, these levels being comparable to or higher than those reported by others over a 2- to 6-d regimen. Densitometric analysis of muscle sections stained with periodic acid-Schiff not only corroborated these findings but also indicated that after 24 h of high-carbohydrate intake, glycogen stores reached similar levels in Type I, IIa, and IIb muscle fibers.

Conclusion: This study shows that a combination of a short-term bout of high-intensity exercise followed by a high-carbohydrate intake enables athletes to attain supranormal muscle glycogen levels within only 24 h.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publisher: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins
Copyright: © 2002 The American College of Sports Medicine
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