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James A. Betts

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Rebecca J. Toone and James A. Betts

This study was designed to compare the effects of energy-matched carbohydrate (CHO) and carbohydrate-protein (CHO-PRO) supplements on cycling time-trial performance. Twelve competitive male cyclists and triathletes each completed 2 trials in a randomized and counterbalanced order that were separated by 5–10 d and applied in a double-blind manner. Participants performed a 45-min variable-intensity exercise protocol on a cycle ergometer while ingesting either a 9% CHO solution or a mixture of 6.8% CHO plus 2.2% protein in volumes providing 22 kJ/kg body mass. Participants were then asked to cycle 6 km in the shortest time possible. Blood glucose and lactate concentrations were measured every 15 min during exercise, along with measures of substrate oxidation via indirect calorimetry, heart rate, and ratings of perceived exertion. Mean time to complete the 6-km time trial was 433 ± 21 s in CHO trials and 438 ± 22 s in CHO-PRO trials, which represents a 0.94% (CI: 0.01, 1.86) decrement in performance with the inclusion of protein (p = .048). However, no other variable measured in this study was significantly different between trials. Reducing the quantity of CHO included in a supplement and replacing it with protein may not represent an effective nutritional strategy when the supplement is ingested during exercise. This may reflect the central ergogenic influence of exogenous CHO during such activity.

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Edward A. Gray, Thomas A. Green, James A. Betts, and Javier T. Gonzalez

During short-term recovery, postexercise glucose–fructose coingestion can accelerate total glycogen repletion and augment recovery of running capacity. It is unknown if this advantage translates to cycling, or to a longer (e.g., overnight) recovery. Using two experiments, the present research investigated if postexercise glucose–fructose coingestion augments exercise capacity following 4-hr (short experiment; n = 8) and 15-hr (overnight experiment; n = 8) recoveries from exhaustive exercise in trained cyclists, compared with isocaloric glucose alone. In each experiment, a glycogen depleting exercise protocol was followed by a 4-hr recovery, with ingestion of 1.5 or 1.2 g·kg−1·hr−1 carbohydrate in the short experiment (double blind) and the overnight experiment (single blind), respectively. Treatments were provided in a randomized order using a crossover design. Four or fifteen hours after the glycogen depletion protocol, participants cycled to exhaustion at 70% W max or 65% W max in the short experiment and the overnight experiment, respectively. In both experiments there was no difference in substrate oxidation or blood glucose and lactate concentrations between treatments during the exercise capacity test (trial effect, p > .05). Nevertheless, cycling capacity was greater in glucose + fructose versus glucose only in the short experiment (28.0 ± 8.4 vs. 22.8 ± 7.3 min, d = 0.65, p = .039) and the overnight experiment (35.9 ± 10.7 vs. 30.6 ± 9.2 min, d = 0.53, p = .026). This is the first study to demonstrate that postexercise glucose–fructose coingestion enhances cycling capacity following short-term (4 hr) and overnight (15 hr) recovery durations. Therefore, if multistage endurance athletes are ingesting glucose for rapid postexercise recovery then fructose containing carbohydrates may be advisable.

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Abdullah F. Alghannam, Dawid Jedrzejewski, James Bilzon, Dylan Thompson, Kostas Tsintzas, and James A. Betts

We examined whether carbohydrate-protein ingestion influences muscle glycogen metabolism during short-term recovery from exhaustive treadmill running and subsequent exercise. Six endurance-trained individuals underwent two trials in a randomized double-blind design, each involving an initial run-to-exhaustion at 70% VO2max (Run-1) followed by 4-h recovery (REC) and subsequent run-to-exhaustion at 70% VO2max (Run-2). Carbohydrate-protein (CHO-P; 0.8 g carbohydrate·kg body mass [BM-1]·h-1 plus 0.4 g protein·kg BM-1·h-1) or isocaloric carbohydrate (CHO; 1.2 g carbohydrate·kg BM-1·h-1) beverages were ingested at 30-min intervals during recovery. Muscle biopsies were taken upon cessation of Run-1, postrecovery and fatigue in Run-2. Time-to-exhaustion in Run-1 was similar with CHO and CHO-P (81 ± 17 and 84 ± 19 min, respectively). Muscle glycogen concentrations were similar between treatments after Run-1 (99 ± 3 mmol·kg dry mass [dm-1]). During REC, muscle glycogen concentrations increased to 252 ± 45 mmol·kg dm-1 in CHO and 266 ± 30 mmol·kg dm-1 in CHO-P (p = .44). Muscle glycogen degradation during Run-2 was similar between trials (3.3 ± 1.4 versus 3.5 ± 1.9 mmol·kg dm-1·min-1 in CHO and CHO-P, respectively) and no differences were observed at the respective points of exhaustion (93 ± 21 versus 100 ± 11 mmol·kg dm-1; CHO and CHO-P, respectively). Similarly, time-to-exhaustion was not different between treatments in Run-2 (51 ± 13 and 49 ± 15 min in CHO and CHO-P, respectively). Carbohydrate-protein ingestion equally accelerates muscle glycogen resynthesis during short-term recovery from exhaustive running as when 1.2 g carbohydrate·kg BM-1·h-1 are ingested. The addition of protein did not alter muscle glycogen utilization or time to fatigue during repeated exhaustive running.

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James A. Betts, Keith A. Stokes, Rebecca J. Toone, and Clyde Williams

Endocrine responses to repeated exercise have barely been investigated, and no data are available regarding the mediating influence of nutrition. On 3 occasions, participants ran for 90 min at 70% VO2max (R1) before a second exhaustive treadmill run at the same intensity (R2; 91.6 ± 17.9 min). During the intervening 4-hr recovery, participants ingested either 0.8 g sucrose · kg−1 · hr−1 with 0.3 g · kg−1 · hr−1 whey-protein isolate (CHO-PRO), 0.8 g sucrose · kg−1 · hr−1 (CHO), or 1.1 g sucrose · kg−1 · hr−1 (CHO-CHO). The latter 2 solutions therefore matched the former for carbohydrate or for available energy, respectively. Serum growth-hormone concentrations increased from 2 ± 1 μg/L to 17 ± 8 μg/L during R1 considered across all treatments (M ± SD; p ≤ .01). Concentrations were similar immediately after R2 irrespective of whether CHO or CHO-CHO was ingested (19 ± 4 μg/L and 19 ± 5 μg/L, respectively), whereas ingestion of CHO-PRO produced an augmented response (31 ± 4 μg/L; p ≤ .05). Growth-hormone-binding protein concentrations were unaffected by R1 but increased similarly across all treatments during R2 (from 414 ± 202 pmol/L to 577 ± 167 pmol/L; p ≤ .01), as was the case for plasma total testosterone (from 9.3 ± 3.3 nmol/L to 14.7 ± 4.6 nmol/L; p ≤ .01). There was an overall treatment effect for serum cortisol (p ≤ .05), with no specific differences at any given time point but lower concentrations immediately after R2 with CHO-PRO (608 ± 133 nmol/L) than with CHO (796 ± 278 nmol/L) or CHO-CHO (838 ± 134 nmol/L). Ingesting carbohydrate with added whey-protein isolate during short-term recovery from 90 min of treadmill running increases the growth-hormone response to a second exhaustive exercise bout of similar duration.

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James A. Betts, Emma Stevenson, Clyde Williams, Catrin Sheppard, Edwin Grey, and Joe Griffin

Including protein in a carbohydrate solution may accelerate both the rate of glycogen storage and the restoration of exercise capacity following prolonged activity. Two studies were undertaken with nine active men in study A and seven in study B. All participants performed 2 trials, each involving a 90 min run at 70% VO2max followed by a 4 h recovery. During recovery, either a 9.3% carbohydrate solution (CHO) or the same solution plus 1.5% protein (CHO-PRO) was ingested every 30 min in volumes providing either 1.2 g CHO · kg−1 · h−1 (study A) or 0.8 g CHO · kg−1 · h−1 (study B). Exercise capacity was then assessed by run time to exhaustion at 85% VO2max. Ingestion of CHO-PRO elicited greater insulinemic responses than CHO (P ≤ 0.05) but with no differences in run times to exhaustion. Within the context of this experimental design, CHO and CHO-PRO restored running capacity with equal effect.

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Benjamin J. Narang, Greg Atkinson, Javier T. Gonzalez, and James A. Betts

The analysis of time series data is common in nutrition and metabolism research for quantifying the physiological responses to various stimuli. The reduction of many data from a time series into a summary statistic(s) can help quantify and communicate the overall response in a more straightforward way and in line with a specific hypothesis. Nevertheless, many summary statistics have been selected by various researchers, and some approaches are still complex. The time-intensive nature of such calculations can be a burden for especially large data sets and may, therefore, introduce computational errors, which are difficult to recognize and correct. In this short commentary, the authors introduce a newly developed tool that automates many of the processes commonly used by researchers for discrete time series analysis, with particular emphasis on how the tool may be implemented within nutrition and exercise science research.

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Gregg Afman, Richard M. Garside, Neal Dinan, Nicholas Gant, James A. Betts, and Clyde Williams

Current recommendations for nutritional interventions in basketball are largely extrapolated from laboratory-based studies that are not sport-specific. We therefore adapted and validated a basketball simulation test relative to competitive basketball games using well-trained basketball players (n = 10), then employed this test to evaluate the effects of two common preexercise nutritional interventions on basketball-specific physical and skilled performance. Specifically, in a randomized and counterbalanced order, participants ingested solutions providing either 75 g carbohydrate (sucrose) 45 min before exercise (Study A; n = 10) or 2 × 0.2 g·kg−1 sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3) 90 and 20 min before exercise (Study B; n = 7), each relative to appropriate placebos (H2O and 2 × 0.14 g·kg−1 NaCl, respectively). Heart rate, sweat rate, pedometer count, and perceived exertion did not systematically differ between the 60-min basketball simulation test and competitive basketball, with a strong positive correlation in heart rate response (r = .9, p < .001). Preexercise carbohydrate ingestion resulted in marked hypoglycemia (< 3.5 mmol·l−1) throughout the first quarter, coincident with impaired sprinting (+0.08 ± 0.05 second; p = .01) and layup shooting performance (8.5/11 versus 10.3/11 baskets; p < .01). However, ingestion of either carbohydrate or sodium bicarbonate before exercise offset fatigue such that sprinting performance was maintained into the final quarter relative to placebo (Study A: –0.07 ± 0.04 second; p < .01 and Study B: -0.08 ± 0.05 second; p = .02), although neither translated into improved skilled (layup shooting) performance. This basketball simulation test provides a valid reflection of physiological demands in competitive basketball and is sufficiently sensitive to detect meaningful changes in physical and skilled performance. While there are benefits of preexercise carbohydrate or sodium bicarbonate ingestion, these should be balanced against potential negative side effects.

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James A. Betts, Milou Beelen, Keith A. Stokes, Wim H.M. Saris, and Luc J.C. van Loon

Nocturnal endocrine responses to exercise performed in the evening and the potential role of nutrition are poorly understood. To gain novel insight, 10 healthy men ingested carbohydrate with (C+P) and without (C) protein in a randomized order and double-blind manner during 2 hr of interval cycling followed by resistancetype exercise and into early postexercise recovery. Blood samples were obtained hourly throughout 9 hr of postexercise overnight recovery for analysis of key hormones. Muscle samples were taken from the vastus lateralis before and after exercise and then again the next morning (7 a.m.) to calculate mixed-muscle protein fractional synthetic rate (FSR). Overnight plasma hormone concentrations were converted into overall responses (expressed as area under the concentration curve) and did not differ between treatments for either growth hormone (1,464 ± 257 vs. 1,432 ± 164 pg/ml · 540 min) or total testosterone (18.3 ± 1.2 vs. 17.9 ± 1.2 nmol/L · 540 min, C and C+P, respectively). In contrast, the overnight cortisol response was higher with C+P (102 ± 11 nmol/L · 540 min) than with C (81 ± 8 nmol/L · 540 min; p = .02). Mixed-muscle FSR did not differ between C and C+P during overnight recovery (0.062% ± 0.006% and 0.062% ± 0.009%/hr, respectively) and correlated significantly with the plasma total testosterone response (r = .7, p < .01). No correlations with FSR were apparent for the response of growth hormone (r = –.2, p = .4), cortisol (r = .1, p = .6), or the ratio of testosterone to cortisol (r = .2, p = .5). In conclusion, protein ingestion during and shortly after exercise does not modulate the endocrine response or muscle protein synthesis during overnight recovery.