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The purpose of this study was to compare the effects of a carbohydrate-electrolyte plus caffeine, carnitine, taurine, and B vitamins solution (CE+) and a carbohydrate-electrolyte-only solution (CE) vs. a placebo solution (PLA) on cycling performance and maximal voluntary contraction (MVC). In a randomized, double-blind, crossover, repeated-measures design, 14 male cyclists (M ± SD age 27 ± 6 yr, VO2max 60.4 ± 6.8 ml · kg−1 · min−1) cycled for 120 min submaximally (alternating 61% ± 5% and 75% ± 5% VO2max) and then completed a 15-min performance trial (PT). Participants ingested CE+, CE, or PLA before (6 ml/kg) and every 15 min during exercise (3 ml/kg). MVC was measured as a single-leg isometric extension (70° knee flexion) before (pre) and after (post) exercise. Rating of perceived exertion (RPE) was measured throughout. Total work accumulated (KJ) during PT was greater (p < .05) in CE+ (233 ± 34) than PLA (205 ± 52) but not in CE (225 ± 39) vs. PLA. MVC (N) declined (p < .001) from pre to post in PLA (988 ± 213 to 851 ± 191) and CE (970 ± 172 to 870 ± 163) but not in CE+ (953 ± 171 to 904 ± 208). At Minutes 60, 90, 105, and 120 RPE was lower in CE+ (14 ± 2, 14 ± 2, 12 ± 1, 15 ± 2) than in PLA (14 ± 2, 15 ± 2, 14 ± 2, 16 ± 2; p < .001). CE+ resulted in greater total work than PLA. CE+, but not PLA or CE, attenuated pre-to-post MVC declines. Performance increases during CE+ may have been influenced by lower RPE and greater preservation of leg strength during exercise in part as a result of the hypothesized effects of CE+ on the central nervous system and skeletal muscle.

Ganio, Klau, Lee, Maresh, and Armstrong are with the Human Performance Laboratory, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT. Yeargin is with Athletic Training, Indiana State University, Terre Haute, IN. McDermott is with the Dept. of Health and Human Performance, University of Tennessee at Chatanooga. Buyckx is with the Beverage Institute for Health and Wellness, The Coca-Cola Co., Atlanta, GA.