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The Effect of Diet Manipulations on Aerobic Performance

Mark H. Roltsch, Judith A. Flohr, and Patricia B. Brevard

The purpose of this study was to examine the metabolic consequences of a moderate variation in dietary fat content of male endurance athletes during submaximal exercise. Six males (age, 29.8 ± 11 years; weight, 72.3 ± 10 kg) · with an average maximum oxygen uptake (V̇O2max) of 66 ± 10 ml/kg/min were tested on their normal diet and 3 experimental diets. The energy contributions from protein, carbohydrates, and fats were 16/59/22 (3% alcohol), 14/53/33, 13/72/15, and 16/61/23% for the normal diet (N), fat supplemented diet (F), high carbohydrate diet (C), and adjusted normal diet (AN), respectively. The F diet was designed to significantly increase fat content compared to the normal diet and be easily maintained by the athletes. Caloric content of the F, C, and AN diets were adjusted to meet estimated total daily energy expenditure. The difference between the N and AN diets is that the AN has been adjusted to meet estimated total daily energy expenditure. The diets were randomly assigned after substrate utilization testing on the N diet and were consumed for 7 days prior to testing. Substrate utilization was recorded at steady state (73 ± 1.4% of V̇O2max) while running on a treadmill for 40 min. There were no significant differences in respiratory exchange ratio between any of the dietary manipulations. No significant differences were observed for lactate, V̇O2, or HR during submaximal testing on the N, F, C, and AN diets. These data indicate that a fat supplemented diet did not affect substrate utilization during 40 min of steady-state submaximal exercise when compared to a high carbohydrate diet or the participant’s normal and adjusted normal diets.

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Comparison of Physiological Responses and Performance Between Mountain Bicycles With Differing Suspension Systems

Jeffrey E. Herrick, Judith A. Flohr, Davis L. Wenos, and Michael J. Saunders


This study compared the metabolic and performance effects of riding front-only suspension (FS) and front-and-rear suspension (FRS) mountain bicycles on an off-road course that simulated competitive cross-country race conditions (>105 min in duration, with ∼70% of time spent riding uphill).


Seven competitive mountain bikers (73.8 ± 7.6 kg; 61.0 ± 4.3 mL·kg–1·min–1) completed two randomized FS and FRS trials. Bikes were similar, excluding rear wheel suspension on the FRS, which increased bike weight by ∼2 kg. Each trial consisted of four laps of rugged 8 km trail with 154 m of elevation gain per lap. The first three laps were performed at ∼70% of VO2max; VO2, HR, and RPE were collected during the first and third laps. The final lap was performed as a maximal time-trial effort.


During the first and third laps, VO2, HR, and RPE were similar between FS and FRS. However, FS was significantly faster than FRS during the ascending segment of the course (17.6 ± 2.9 vs 18.9 ± 3.4 min, P = .035), despite similar VO2 (P = .651). Although not statistically significant, FRS tended to be faster than FS during the descending portion of the course (8.1 ± 2.0 vs 9.1 ± 2.1, P = .067) at similar VO2. Performance during the final time-trial lap was significantly faster for FS than FRS (24.9 ± 3.9 min, 27.5 ± 4.9 min, P = .008).


FS was faster than FRS over a course that simulated competitive cross-country race conditions. The faster times were likely the result of improved cycling economy during ascending, which were at least partially influenced by the lighter weight of the FS.