Effects of Carbohydrate Loading and Weight-lifting on Muscle Girth

in International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism
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Bodybuilders have used different carbohydrate loading regimens in conjunction with resistance exercise prior to competition in the belief that this would result in increased muscle size. To investigate this possibility, muscle girth measurements were obtained from nine weight-trained males before and after a control (standard isocaloric diet) and an experimental trial (carbohydrate loading). The latter regimen consisted of 3 days of intense weight-lifting while the subjects ingested a diet of 10% carbohydrate (CHO), 57% fat (F), and 33% protein (P), followed by 3 days of light weight-lifting and a day of rest while ingesting a diet of 80% CHO, 5% F, and 15% P. The control trial consisted of an identical weight-lifting regimen while subjects ingested an isocaloric (45 kcal/kg BWIday) diet. Body weight and girths (forearm, upper arm, chest, thigh, waist, and calf) were obtained before and after each trial in a relaxed and flexed state. The results indicated that an exercise/carbohydrate loading regimen had no significant effect on muscle girth as compared to the control trial. It is concluded that CHO loading has no additional advantage to enhancing muscle girth in bodybuilders over weight-lifting alone.

Balon is with the Dept. of Diabetes at City of Hope Medical Center, 1500 E. Duarte Rd., Duarte, CA 91010. Horowitz is with the Dept. of Kinesiology and Health, Univ. of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX 78712. Fitzsimmons is with the Dept. of Pathology, Coll. of Medicine, Univ. of Iowa, Iowa City, IA 52242. Request reprints from Dr. Balon.