I figured since I was confined to the safety of my home due to illness (physical, not mental), I’d catch up on some reading. Lately I’ve fallen behind in my perusal of trade articles and research, so I picked up my copy of this month’s Personal Fitness Professional and turned to the research pages. My curiousity was piqued when I read this study title:
Hmm. Sounds like something I could get down with. I read the synopsis and thought, “wow, another dagger in the hearts of the carb-loaders.” The line used was:
“The researchers concluded that the technique used by athletes for many years to ‘super compensate’ muscles with glycogen does not work.”
But before you get too excited either way about this statement, let me tell you what the study was all about, just in case you didn’t feel like clicking on the link and reading it for yourself. Six highly-trained male cyclists were beat to hell three times in a 5 day span (so, on days 1, 3, and 5). Their muscle glycogen levels were measured using biopsies taken immediately post-exercise and after 3 hours of recovery on day 1 and day 3. They were fed a typical carbo-loading diet pattern (moderate carbs before depletetion, high carbs after depletetion).
So what? Well, they had high muscle glycogen on day 3, which is what you would expect. Surprisingly, they had lower muscle glycogen on day 5.
But really, who gives a crap about that? It’s all about performance, baby – and that’s where the results shine. I quote, “EX (exhaustive cycling protocol) was enhanced on days 3 and 5 compared with day 1 ” – i.e., they performed better after carb-loading.
I really wish they’d actually read these things before writing about them.