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James A. Betts

As we enter a new decade with our first issue of 2020, this short editorial serves to announce a number of important developments at International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism (IJSNEM). I should start by noting that you are not presently reading the words of Professor Ronald

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Anthony D. Mahon and Brian W. Timmons

Exercise metabolism in children has traditionally been assessed using the respiratory exchange ratio (RER) to determine the contributions of fat and carbohydrate to the exercise energy demands. Although easily measured, RER measurements have limitations. Other methods to assess metabolism such as the obtainment of a muscle biopsy and the use of nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy carry ethical and feasibility concerns, respectively, which limit their use in studies involving children. Stable isotopes, used routinely in studies involving adults, can also be applied in studies involving children in an ethical and feasible manner. Two common stable isotopes used in metabolic studies involving children include carbon-13 (13C) and nitrogen-15 (15N). 13C-glucose can be used to study carbohydrate metabolism and 15N-glycine can be used to assess protein metabolism. This article reviews the use of 13C-glucose and 15N-glycine to study exercise metabolism in children, considers some of the associated ethical aspects, explains the general methodology involved in administering these isotopes and the resources required, and describes studies involving children utilizing these methods. Finally, suggestions for future research are provided to encourage further use of these techniques.

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Estelle V. Lambert, Julia H. Goedecke, Charl van Zyl, Kim Murphy, John A. Hawley, Steven C. Dennis and Timothy D. Noakes

We examined the effects of a high-fat diet (HFD-CHO) versus a habitual diet, prior to carbohydrate (CHO)-loading on fuel metabolism and cycling time-trial (TT) performance. Five endurance-trained cyclists participated in two 14-day randomized cross-over trials during which subjects consumed either a HFD (>65% MJ from fat) or their habitual diet (CTL) (30 ± 5% MJ from fat) for 10 day, before ingesting a high-CHO diet (CHO-loading, CHO > 70% MJ) for 3 days. Trials consisted of a 150-min cycle at 70% of peak oxygen uptake (V̇O2peak), followed immediately by a 20-km TT. One hour before each trial, cyclists ingested 400 ml of a 3.44% medium-chain triacylglycerol (MCT) solution, and during the trial, ingested 600 ml/hour of a 10% 14C-glucose + 3.44% MCT solution. The dietary treatments did not alter the subjects’ weight, body fat, or lipid profile. There were also no changes in circulating glucose, lactate, free fatty acid (FFA), and β-hydroxybutyrate concentrations during exercise. However, mean serum glycerol concentrations were significantly higher (p < .01) in the HFD-CHO trial. The HFD-CHO diet increased total fat oxidation and reduced total CHO oxidation but did not alter plasma glucose oxidation during exercise. By contrast, the estimated rates of muscle glycogen and lactate oxidation were lower after the HFD-CHO diet. The HFD-CHO treatment was also associated with improved TT times (29.5 ± 2.9 min vs. 30.9 ± 3.4 min for HFD-CHO and CTL-CHO, p < .05). High-fat feeding for 10 days prior to CHO-loading was associated with an increased reliance on fat, a decreased reliance on muscle glycogen, and improved time trial performance after prolonged exercise.

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Jason A. Schisler and C. David Ianuzzo


This study determined if recreational type of endurance exercise is limited by a short-term fast, such as an overnight fast or benefited by a carbohydrate supplement prior to and during endurance exercise.


Six individuals ran at 70% VO2max for 90 min under three dietary conditions (fed, fasted for 16 to 18 h, fasted plus CHO).


RPE, RER, BG (blood glucose), and La (lactate) were similar between conditions throughout 90 min of exercise. FFA was higher (P ≤ 0.05) only in the fed and fasted groups after exercise.


The psychosomatic sensation, physiologic, and metabolic data all indicated that endurance exercise for up to 90 min for fit individuals is not limited by a short-term fast or enhanced by carbohydrate supplementation. These findings are of interest to persons who exercise to maintain and enhance health and are not concerned with elite performance.

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Michael J. Saunders

Endurance athletes commonly consume carbohydrate-electrolyte sports beverages during prolonged events. The benefits of this strategy are numerous—sports-beverage consumption during exercise can delay dehydration, maintain blood glucose levels, and potentially attenuate muscle glycogen depletion and central fatigue. Thus, it is generally agreed that carbohydrate-electrolyte beverages can improve endurance performance. A controversy has recently emerged regarding the potential role of protein in sports beverages. At least 3 recent studies have reported that carbohydrate-protein ingestion improves endurance performance to a greater extent than carbohydrate alone. In addition, carbohydrate-protein ingestion has been associated with reductions in markers of muscle damage and improved post exercise recovery. Although many of these muscle damage and recovery studies examined post exercise nutritional intake, recent evidence suggests that these benefits may be elicited with carbohydrate-protein consumption during exercise. These findings are intriguing and suggest that the importance of protein for endurance athletes has been underappreciated. However, 2 studies recently reported no differences in endurance performance between carbohydrate and carbohydrate-protein beverages. The varied outcomes may have been influenced by a number of methodological differences, including the amounts and types of carbohydrate or protein in the beverages, the exercise protocols, and the relative statistical power of the studies. In addition, although there are plausible mechanisms that could explain the ergogenic effects of carbohydrate-protein beverages, they remain relatively untested. This review examines the existing research regarding the efficacy of carbohydrate-protein consumption during endurance exercise. Limitations of the existing research are addressed, as well as potential areas for future study.

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M. Travis Byrd, Jonathan Robert Switalla, Joel E. Eastman, Brian J. Wallace, Jody L. Clasey and Haley C. Bergstrom

Critical power (CP) and anaerobic work capacity (AWC) from the CP test represent distinct parameters related to metabolic characteristics of the whole body and active muscle tissue, respectively. Purpose: To examine the contribution of whole-body composition characteristics and local lean mass to further elucidate the differences in metabolic characteristics between CP and AWC as they relate to whole body and local factors. Methods: Fifteen anaerobically trained men were assessed for whole-body (% body fat and mineral-free lean mass [LBM]) and local mineral-free thigh lean mass (TLM) composition characteristics. CP and AWC were determined from the 3-min all-out CP test. Statistical analyses included Pearson product–moment correlations and stepwise multiple-regression analyses (P ≤ .05). Results: Only LBM contributed significantly to the prediction of CP (CP = 2.3 [LBM] + 56.7 [r 2 = .346, standard error of the estimate (SEE) = 31.4 W, P = .021]), and only TLM to AWC (AWC = 0.8 [TLM] + 3.7 [r 2 = .479, SEE = 2.2 kJ, P = .004]). Conclusions: The aerobic component (CP) of the CP test was most closely related to LBM, and the anaerobic component (AWC) was more closely related to the TLM. These findings support the theory that CP and AWC are separate measures of whole-body metabolic capabilities and the energy stores in the activated local muscle groups, respectively. Thus, training programs to improve CP and AWC should be designed to include resistance-training exercises to increase whole-body LBM and local TLM.

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Amy Warren, Erin J. Howden, Andrew D. Williams, James W. Fell and Nathan A. Johnson

Postexercise fat oxidation may be important for exercise prescription aimed at optimizing fat loss. The authors examined the effects of exercise intensity, duration, and modality on postexercise oxygen consumption (VO2) and substrate selection/respiratory-exchange ratio (RER) in healthy individuals. Three experiments (n = 7 for each) compared (a) short- (SD) vs. long-duration (LD) ergometer cycling exercise (30 min vs. 90 min) matched for intensity, (b) low- (LI) vs. high-intensity (HI) cycling (50% vs. 85% of VO2max) matched for energy expenditure, and (c) continuous (CON) vs. interval (INT) cycling matched for energy expenditure and mean intensity. All experiments were administered by crossover design. Altering exercise duration did not affect postexercise VO2 or RER kinetics (p > .05). However, RER was lower and fat oxidation was higher during the postexercise period in LD vs. SD (p < .05). HI vs. LI resulted in a significant increase in total postexercise energy expenditure and fat oxidation (p < .01). Altering exercise modality (CON vs. INT) did not affect postexercise VO2, RER, or fat oxidation (p > .05). These results demonstrate that postexercise energy expenditure and fat oxidation can be augmented by increasing exercise intensity, but these benefits cannot be exploited by undertaking interval exercise (1:2-min work:recovery ratio) when total energy expenditure, duration, and mean intensity remain unchanged. In spite of the apparent benefit of these strategies, the amount of fat oxidized after exercise may be inconsequential compared with that oxidized during the exercise bout.

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Steven K. Malin, Brooke R. Stephens, Carrie G. Sharoff, Todd A. Hagobian, Stuart R. Chipkin and Barry Braun

Exercise and metformin may prevent or delay Type 2 diabetes by, in part, raising the capacity for fat oxidation. Whether the addition of metformin has additive effects on fat oxidation during and after exercise is unknown. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to evaluate the effect of metformin on substrate oxidation during and after exercise. Using a double-blind, counter-balanced crossover design, substrate oxidation was assessed by indirect calorimetry in 15 individuals taking metformin (2,000 mg/d) and placebo for 8–10 d. Measurements were made during cycle exercise at 5 submaximal cycle workloads, starting at 30% peak work (Wpeak) and increasing by 10% every 8 min to 70% Wpeak. Substrate oxidation was also measured for 50 min postexercise. Differences between conditions were assessed using analysis of variance with repeated measures, and values are reported as M ± SE. During exercise, fat oxidation (0.19 ± 0.03 vs. 0.15 ± 0.01 g/min, p < .01) and percentage of energy from fat (32% ± 3% vs. 28% ± 3%, p < .01) were higher with metformin than with placebo. Postexercise, metformin slightly lowered fat oxidation (0.12 ± 0.02 to 0.10 ± 0.02 g/min, p < .01) compared with placebo. There was an inverse relationship between postexercise fat oxidation and the rate of fat oxidation during exercise (r = –.68, p < .05). In healthy individuals, metformin has opposing actions on fat oxidation during and after exercise. Whether the same effects are evident in insulin-resistant individuals remains to be determined.

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Michael Gleeson, Andrew K. Blannin, Neil P. Walsh, Nicolette C. Bishop and Anya M. Clark

We examined the effects of a low-carbohydrate (CHO) diet on the plasma glutamine and circulating leukocyte responses to prolonged strenuous exercise. Twelve untrained male subjects cycled for 60 min at 70% of maximal oxygen uptake on two separate occasions, 3 days apart. All subjects performed the first exercise task after a normal diet: they completed the second exercise task after 3 days on either a high-CHO diet (75±8% CHO, n = 6) or a low-CHO diet (7±4% CHO, n = 6). The low-CHO diet was associated with a larger rise in plasma cortisol during exercise, a greater fall in the plasma glutamine concentration during recovery, and a larger neutrophilia during the postexercise period. Exercise on the high-CHO diet did not affect levels of plasma glutamine and circulating leukocytes. We conclude that CHO availability can influence the plasma glutamine andcirculaling leukocyte responses during recovery from intense prolonged exercise.