Performance Effects of Carbohydrate Ingestion Between Bouts of Intense Aerobic Interval Exercise

in International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
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Rest between training sessions can be short for athletes. In these situations, consuming carbohydrate (CHO) post-exercise replenishes glycogen stores, which is important for recovery and subsequent performance.


This study tested whether CHO intake during a 2-h rest between exercise bouts improved performance in the subsequent bout.


In a randomized, single-blinded, crossover design, 10 recreationally-active participants (23 ± 4 yr, 70.8 ± 6.6 kg, VO2peak:47.0 ± 5.4 mL O2·min-1·kg body mass-1) arrived at the lab post-prandial and completed 2 exercise bouts separated by 2-h rest. Bouts included 5 x 4-min intervals at ~80% VO2peak separated by 2-min at ~40% VO2peak and ended with an endurance trial (ET) to voluntary exhaustion at ~90% VO2peak. During intervals 1 and 4 in each bout expired gases were collected and O2 deficit was estimated. Immediately following bout-1, either a CHO (1.2 g CHO·kg body mass-1) or placebo (PL) solution was consumed.


ET duration decreased in bout-2 vs. 1 in both conditions (P<0.01) but was ~35% longer in bout-2 with CHO vs. PL (Interaction, P=0.03; post-hoc, P=0.03). VO2 increased during interval 4 vs. 1 in both bouts (P<0.01) but was unaffected by CHO (P≥0.58). O2 deficit was unaffected by CHO (P=0.93), bout or interval (P≥0.15). Perceived exertion was higher in bout-2 vs. 1 (P<0.001) and reduced in intervals 2 and 4 in CHO (P≤0.01).


When rest between training sessions is 2 hours, athletes may improve subsequent performance by consuming CHO during recovery. Supported by NSERC, Canada.

Address for Correspondence: Devin G McCarthy Room AB123, Ivor Wynne Centre McMaster University 1280 Main Street West Hamilton, ON, L8S 4L8 Canada Email: Phone: 647-453-5733
International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
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