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Nancy L. Keim, Amy Z. Belko and Teresa F. Barbieri

Energy expenditure (EE) was measured at specific steady-state work rates to determine if body fat percentage or gender was associated with exercise EE, substrate oxidation, or work efficiency. Body fat percentage (leaner vs. fatter men, 9-15% vs. 20-25% fat; leaner vs. fatter women, 16-24% vs. 32-48% fat) was not related to work efficiency or submaximal EE. Fatness affected substrate oxidation in men but not in women. Compared to fatter men, leaner men had higher fat oxidation (6.7 ± 1.6 vs. 1.4 ± 2.0 mg · kg fat-free mass [FFM]1 · min1; p < .01) and lower carbohydrate oxidation (26.6 ± 4.2 vs. 39.3 ± 5.0 mg ⋅ kg FFM1min1; p< .01) at 60% V˙O2max. When men and women of similar fatness and relative aerobic capacity were compared, men had higher EE measured as kilojoules per minute but similar rates of EE and substrate oxidation per kilogram of FFM at 40-60% V˙O2max. It was concluded that body FFM, not fatness, is a determinant of exercise EE, whereas fatness is associated with differences in exercise substrate oxidation in men. Along with aerobic fitness, gender and fatness should be considered in future studies of exercise substrate oxidation.

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Eric T. Poehlman and Christopher Melby

In this brief review we examine the effects of resistance training on energy expenditure. The components of daily energy expenditure are described, and methods of measuring daily energy expenditure are discussed. Cross-sectional and exercise intervention studies are examined with respect to their effects on resting metabolic rate, physical activity energy expenditure, postexercise oxygen consumption, and substrate oxidation in younger and older individuals. Evidence is presented to suggest that although resistance training may elevate resting metabolic rate, il does not substantially enhance daily energy expenditure in free-living individuals. Several studies indicate that intense resistance exercise increases postexercise oxygen consumption and shifts substrate oxidation toward a greater reliance on fat oxidation. Preliminary evidence suggests that although resistance training increases muscular strength and endurance, its effects on energy balance and regulation of body weight appear to be primarily mediated by its effects on body composition (e.g., increasing fat-free mass) rather than by the direct energy costs of the resistance exercise.

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Bettina Mittendorfer and Samuel Klein

Endurance exercise increases the use of endogenous fuels to provide energy for working muscles. Elderly subjects oxidize more glucose and less fat during moderate intensity exercise. This shift in substrate use is presumably caused by age-related changes in skeletal muscle, including decreased skeletal muscle respiratory capacity, because adipose tissue lipolysis and plasma fatty acid availability are not rate limiting. Endurance training in elderly subjects increases muscle respiratory capacity, decreases glucose production and oxidation, and increases fat oxidation thereby correcting or compensating for the alterations in substrate oxidation associated with aging.

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Heidi M. Staudacher, Andrew L. Carey, Nicola K. Cummings, John A. Hawley and Louise M. Burke

We determined the effect of a high-fat diet and carbohydrate (CHO) restoration on substrate oxidation and glucose tolerance in 7 competitive ultra-endurance athletes (peak oxygen uptake [V̇O2peak] 68 ± 1 ml · kg−1 · min−1; mean±SEM). For 6 days, subjects consumed a random order of a high-fat (69% fat; FAT-adapt) or a high-CHO (70% CHO; HCHO) diet, each followed by 1 day of a high-CHO diet. Treatments were separated by an 18-day wash out. Substrate oxidation was determined during submaximal cycling (20 min at 65% V̇O2peak) prior to and following the 6 day dietary interventions. Fat oxidation at baseline was not different between treatments (17.4 ± 2.1 vs. 16.1 ± 1.3 g · 20 min−1 for FAT-adapt and HCHO, respectively) but increased 34% after 6 days of FAT-adapt (to 23.3 ± 0.9 g · 20 min−1, p < .05) and decreased 30% after HCHO (to 11.3±1.4 g · 20 min−1, p < .05). Glucose tolerance, determined by the area under the plasma [glucose] versus time curve during an oral glucose tolerance (OGTT) test, was similar at baseline (545±21 vs. 520±28 mmol · L−1 · 90 min−1), after 5-d of dietary intervention (563 ± 26 vs. 520 ± 18 mmol · L−1 · 90 min−1) and after 1 d of high-CHO (491 ± 28 vs. 489 ± 22 mmol · L−1 · 90min−1 for FAT- adapt and HCHO, respectively). An index of whole-body insulin sensitivity (SI 10000/÷fasting [glucose] × fasting [insulin] × mean [glucose] during OGTT × mean [insulin] during OGTT) was similar at baseline (15 ± 2 vs. 17 ± 5 arbitrary units), after 5-d of dietary intervention (15 ± 2 vs. 15 ± 2) and after 24 h of CHO loading (17 ± 3 vs. 18 ± 2 for FAT- adapt and HCHO, respectively). We conclude that despite marked changes in the pattern of substrate oxidation during submaximal exercise, short-term adaptation to a high-fat diet does not alter whole-body glucose tolerance or an index of insulin sensitivity in highly-trained individuals.

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Robert G. McMurray and Peter A. Hosick

The study evaluated the interactions of puberty and obesity on substrate oxidation of overweight girls (n = 38) and boys (N = 35; BMI > 85th percentile) matched for gender, age, and puberty (pre/pubertal) with normal weight girls and boys. Metabolic rates (VO2) were obtained during rest and at 4, 5.6 and 8 k/h. Carbohydrate oxidation rates (mg/kgFFM/min) adjusted for % predicted VO2max, were higher for prepubertal OW children than pubertal children (p < .03). Fat oxidation rates were higher for NW prepubertal boys compared with other boys. Results indicate that OW children, regardless of gender or pubertal status, increase their carbohydrate oxidation rate to compensate for higher than normal metabolic rates. The effects of obesity on the substrate use is marginally related to puberty.

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Stephen F. Burns, Hnin Hnin Oo and Anh Thanh Thuy Tran

The current study examined the effect of sprint interval exercise on postexercise oxygen consumption, respiratory-exchange ratio (RER), substrate oxidation, and blood pressure in adolescents. Participants were 10 normal-weight healthy youth (7 female), age 15–18 years. After overnight fasts, each participant undertook 2 trials in a random balanced order: (a) two 30-s bouts of sprint interval exercise on a cycle ergometer and (b) rested in the laboratory for an equivalent period. Timematched measurements of oxygen consumption, RER, and blood pressure were made 90 min into recovery, and substrate oxidation were calculated over the time period. Total postexercise oxygen uptake was significantly higher in the exercise than control trial over the 90 min (mean [SD]: control 20.0 [6.0] L, exercise 24.8 [9.8] L; p = .030). After exercise, RER was elevated above control but then fell rapidly and was lower than control 30–60 min postexercise, and fat oxidation was significantly higher in the exercise than control trial 45–60 min postexercise. However, total fat oxidation did not differ between trials (control 4.5 [2.5] g, exercise 5.4 [2.7] g; p = .247). Post hoc tests revealed that systolic blood pressure was significantly lower than in control at 90 min postexercise (control 104 [10] mm Hg, exercise 99 [10] mm Hg; p < .05). These data indicate that acute sprint interval exercise leads to short-term increases in oxygen uptake and reduced blood pressure in youth. The authors suggest that health outcomes in response to sprint interval training be examined in children.

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Jonathan P. Little, Philip D. Chilibeck, Dawn Ciona, Scott Forbes, Huw Rees, Albert Vandenberg and Gordon A. Zello

Consuming carbohydrate-rich meals before continuous endurance exercise improves performance, yet few studies have evaluated the ideal preexercise meal for high-intensity intermittent exercise, which is characteristic of many team sports. The authors’ purpose was to investigate the effects of low- and high-glycemic-index (GI) meals on metabolism and performance during high-intensity, intermittent exercise. Sixteen male participants completed three 90-min high-intensity intermittent running trials in a single-blinded random order, separated by ~7 d, while fasted (control) and 2 hr after ingesting an isoenergetic low-GI (lentil), or high-GI (potato and egg white) preexercise meal. Serum free fatty acids were higher and insulin lower throughout exercise in the fasted condition (p < .05), but there were no differences in blood glucose during exercise between conditions. Distance covered on a repeated-sprint test at the end of exercise was significantly greater in the low-GI and high-GI conditions than in the control (p < .05). Rating of perceived exertion was lower in the low-GI condition than in the control (p = .01). In a subsample of 5 participants, muscle glycogen availability was greater in the low- and high-GI conditions versus fasted control before the repeated-sprint test (p < .05), with no differences between low and high GI. When exogenous carbohydrates are not provided during exercise both low- and high-GI preexercise meals improve high-intensity, intermittent exercise performance, probably by increasing the availability of muscle glycogen. However, the GI does not influence markers of substrate oxidation during high-intensity, intermittent exercise.

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Llion A. Roberts, Kris Beattie, Graeme L. Close and James P. Morton


To test the hypothesis that antioxidants can attenuate high-intensity interval training–induced improvements in exercise performance.


Two groups of recreationally active males performed a high-intensity interval running protocol, four times per week for 4 wk. Group 1 (n = 8) consumed 1 g of vitamin C daily throughout the training period, whereas Group 2 (n = 7) consumed a visually identical placebo. Pre- and posttraining, subjects were assessed for VO2max, 10 km time trial, running economy at 12 km/h and distance run on the YoYo intermittent recovery tests level 1 and 2 (YoYoIRT1/2). Subjects also performed a 60 min run before and after training at a running velocity of 65% of pretraining VO2max so as to assess training-induced changes in substrate oxidation rates.


Training improved (P < .0005) VO2max, 10 km time trial, running economy, YoYoIRT1 and YoYoIRT2 in both groups, although there was no difference (P = .31, 0.29, 0.24, 0.76 and 0.59) between groups in the magnitude of training-induced improvements in any of the aforementioned parameters. Similarly, training also decreased (P < .0005) mean carbohydrate and increased mean fat oxidation rates during submaximal exercise in both groups, although no differences (P = .98 and 0.94) existed between training conditions.


Daily oral consumption of 1 g of vitamin C during a 4 wk high-intensity interval training period does not impair training-induced improvements in the exercise performance of recreationally active males.

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Hermann-J. Engels, John C. Wirth, Sueda Celik and Jodee L. Dorsey

This study assessed the influence of caffeine on metabolic and cardiovascular functions during sustained, light intensity cycling and at rest. Eight healthy, recreationally active adults participated in four randomly assigned, double-blind experimental trials of 60 min upright seated cycle exercise (30% VO2max) or equivalent rest with caffeine (5 mg ⋅ kg−1) or placebo consumed 60 min prior to data collection. Gas exchange was measured by open-circuit spirom-etry indirect calorimetry. Global blood flow was evaluated by thoracic impedance cardiography and arterial blood pressure by auscultation. A repeated measures ANOVA indicated that pretrial caffeine increased oxygen uptake and energy expenditure rate (p < 0.05) but did not change respiratory exchange ratio. Systolic, diastolic, and mean arterial blood pressure were elevated following caffeine intake (p < 0.05). Cardiac output, heart rate, stroke volume, and systemic vascular resistance were not significantly different between caffeine and placebo sessions. For each of the metabolic and hemodynamic variables examined, the effects of caffeine were similar during constant-load, light intensity cycling and at rest. These data illustrate that caffeine's mild thermogenic influence can be mediated without a major shift in substrate oxidation mixture. Caffeine at this dosage level alters cardiovascular dynamics by augmenting arterial blood pressure.

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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.