The oral presence of carbohydrate (CHO) and caffeine (CAF) may independently enhance exercise performance, but their influence on performance during prolonged exercise is less known.
To determine the independent and combined effects of CHO and CAF administered in chewing gum during a cycling time trial (TT) after prolonged exercise.
Eleven male cyclists (32.2 ± 7.5 y, 74.3 ± 6.8 kg, 60.2 ± 4.0 mL · kg–1 · min–1 V˙O2peak) performed 4 experimental trials consisting of 90-min constant-load cycling at 80% of their second ventilatory threshold (207 ± 30 W), followed immediately by a 20-km TT. Under double-blinded conditions, cyclists received placebo (PLA), CHO, CAF, or a combined CHO+CAF chewing gum at 0-, 5-, 10-, and 15-km points of the TT.
Overall TT performance was similar across experimental and PLA trials (%mean difference ± 90%CL 0.2% ± 2.0%, 0.4% ± 2.2%, 0.1% ± 1.8% for CHO, CAF, and CHO+CAF). Compared with PLA, mean power output tended to be higher in the first 2 quarters of the TT with CHO (1.6% ± 3.1% and 0.8% ± 2.0%) and was substantially improved in the last 2 quarters during CAF and CHO+CAF trials (4.2% ± 3.0% and 2.0% ± 1.8%). There were no differences in average heart rate (ES <0.2) and only small changes in blood glucose (ES 0.2), which were unrelated to performance. Blood lactate was substantially higher post-TT for CAF and CHO+CAF (ES >0.6).
After prolonged constant-load cycling, the oral presence of CHO and CAF in chewing gum, independently or in combination, did not improve overall performance but did influence pacing.