Effects of Carbohydrate, Caffeine, and Guarana on Cognitive Performance, Perceived Exertion, and Shooting Performance in High-Level Athletes

in International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
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Purpose: To investigate the effect of ingesting carbohydrate (CHO), caffeine  (CAF), and a guarana complex (GUAc) during a running exercise on cognitive performance, rating of perceived exertion (RPE), and shooting performance in high-level modern pentathlon athletes. Methods: A total of 10 athletes completed 4 counterbalanced sessions within a 2-wk period, corresponding to ingestions of CHO (30 g), GUAc (300 mg), CAF (200 mg), or placebo. The exercise involved a 40-min run on a treadmill at a steady speed, previously determined as a “somewhat hard” exercise (RPE 13). Shooting and cognitive performance (Simon task) were assessed in 3 phases: before exercise and ingestion, before exercise and after half ingestion, and after exercise and full ingestion. Drinks were consumed 40 min (250 mL) and 5 min (125 mL) prior to exercise and after 20 min of running (125 mL). RPE was assessed at 10-min intervals during exercise. Results: There was an interaction between drink and exercise on mean reaction time (P = .01, ηp2=.41) and a drink effect on RPE (P = .01, ηp2=.15). CHO, CAF, and GUAc enhanced the speed of information processing after exercise (P = .003, P = .004, and P = .04, respectively), but only CAF and GUAc decreased RPE (P = .002 and P = .02, respectively). Conclusion: The results highlight a beneficial effect of nutritional supplements on information processing and RPE. This finding is particularly interesting as decision-making processes are crucial in the performance of many sports.

Pomportes and Brisswalter are with the Laboratory of Human Motricity Sport Health Expertise, Côte d’Azur University, Nice, France. Pomportes is with CREPS PACA, Aix en Provence, France. Hays is with the Inst of Movement Sciences and UMR 7287; Pomportes and Davranche, CNRS and LPC; and Davranche, UMR7290, Aix-Marseille University, Marseille, France.

Davranche (karen.davranche@univ-amu.fr) is corresponding author
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