September 06, 2004

Carbohydrate and fat for training and recovery

ABSTRACT

Burke, L.M., Kiens, B., and Ivy, J.L.
Journal of Sports Sciences, 2004; 22, 15-30

An important goal of the athlete's everyday diet is to provide the muscle with substrates to fuel the training programme that will achieve optimal adaptation for performance enhancements. In reviewing the scientific literature on post-exercise glycogen storage since 1991, the following guidelines for the training diet are proposed.

Athletes should aim to achieve carbohydrate intakes to meet the fuel requirements of their training programme and to optimize restoration of muscle glycogen stores between workouts. General recommendations can be provided, preferably in terms of grams of carbohydrate per kilogram of the athlete's body mass, but should be fine-tuned with individual consideration of total energy needs, specific training needs and feedback from training performance. It is valuable to choose nutrient-rich carbohydrate foods and to add other foods to recovery meals and snacks to provide a good source of protein and other nutrients. These nutrients may assist in other recovery processes and, in the case of protein, may promote additional glycogen recovery when carbohydrate intake is suboptimal or when frequent snacking is not possible.

When the period between exercise sessions is <8 h, the athlete should begin carbohydrate intake as soon as practical after the first workout to maximize the effective recovery time between sessions. There may be some advantages in meeting carbohydrate intake targets as a series of snacks during the early recovery phase, but during longer recovery periods (24 h) the athlete should organize the pattern and timing of carbohydrate-rich meals and snacks according to what is practical and comfortable for their individual situation.

Carbohydrate-rich foods with a moderate to high glycaemic index provide a readily available source of carbohydrate for muscle glycogen synthesis, and should be the major carbohydrate choices in recovery meals. Although there is new interest in the recovery of intramuscular triglyceride stores between training sessions, there is no evidence that diets which are high in fat and restricted in carbohydrate enhance training.

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Pre-exercise carbohydrate and fat ingestion: effects on metabolism and performance 

ABSTRACT

Hargreaves M, Hawley JA, and Jeukendrup A.
Journal of Sports Sciences, 2004, 22, 33-38.

A key goal of pre-exercise nutritional strategies is to maximize carbohydrate stores, thereby minimizing the ergolytic effects of carbohydrate depletion. Increased dietary carbohydrate intake in the days before competition increases muscle glycogen levels and enhances exercise performance in endurance events lasting 90 minutes or more. Ingestion of carbohydrate 304 hours before exercise increases liver and muscle glycogen and enhances subsequent endurance exercise perforamnce. The effects of carbohydrate ingestion on blood glucose and free fatty acid concentrations and carbohydrate oxidation during exercise persist for at least 6 hours. Although an increase in plasma insulin following carbohydrate ingestion in the hour before exercise inhibits lipolysis and liver glucose output, and can lead to transient hypoglycemia during subsequent exercise in susceptible individuals, there is no convincing evidence that this is always associated with impaired exercise performance. However, individual experience should inform individual practice. Interventions to increase fat availiability before exercise have been shown to reduce carbohydrate utilization during exercise, but do not appear to have ergogenic benefits. 

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