The influence of preceding diet (mixed, MD; carbohydrate CD; protein PD) on performance during high intensity endurance cycling was examined in six middle distance runners. Subjects undertook cycle ergometer exercise at a workload equivalent to 80% VO2 max until exhaustion following each of the three dietary regimens. Dietary analyses were performed using a computerised evaluation technique and cardiorespiratory, blood glucose and lactate responses to exercise were measured along with exercise time to exhaustion. Significant differences in carbohydrate and protein intakes were noted between respective diets as well as significantly higher total energy intake in MD (P less than 0.05). A significant relationship was observed between carbohydrate intake and exercise time to exhaustion (r = 0.59, P less than 0.05). No significant differences were noted in cardiorespiratory measures or blood glucose response after exhaustive exercise between the three dietary regimens but peak blood lactate concentration was lower following PD (P less than 0.05). Total time to exhaustion was significantly higher on CD (1070.0 +/- 106.7 s) than on PD (642.5 +/- 84.3 s, P less than 0.01). Performance time on MD (895.7 +/- 84.3 s) did not differ significantly for performance time on either CD or PD. It was concluded that dietary manipulation significantly improves exercise time to exhaustion during short term, high intensity cycling.
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