Carbohydrates and physical/mental performance during intermittent exercise to fatigue.

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This study was designed to examine the effects of carbohydrate-electrolyte ingestion on physical and mental function associated with the performance of intermittent high-intensity (IHI) exercise similar to many common competitive sporting events.

Physically active men (N = 5) and women (N = 5), experienced in competitive soccer or basketball, completed three practice sessions and two experimental trials of an IHI shuttle running protocol designed to closely stimulate the demands of an actual competitive sporting event such as basketball. The experimental trials consisted of four 15-min quarters (QTR) of intermittent shuttle running at various percentages of .VO(2max) (walking, jogging, running, sprinting and jumping), separated by a 20-min halftime rest period (HALF) and followed by a shuttle run to fatigue. Various tests of physical and mental function (shuttle run to fatigue, 20-m maximal sprint, 10-repetition maximal vertical jumping, whole body motor skill test (MS-Test), profile of mood states (POMS), and Stroop Color-Word Test) were performed throughout the experimental trial. Carbohydrate-electrolyte (CHO) or placebo (P) drinks were consumed before exercise (5; 6% solution) and at halftime (5; 18% solution). Smaller volumes (3; 6% solution) were given after QTR-1, HALF, QTR-3, and QTR-4.

CHO ingestion resulted in a 37% longer run time to fatigue and faster 20-m sprint time during QTR-4 (P < 0.05). MS-Test performance was also improved during the latter stages of exercise along with self-reported perceptions of fatigue (subscale of POMS) (P < 0.05) in CHO versus P.

These results suggest a beneficial role of carbohydrate-electrolyte ingestion on physical and mental function during intermittent exercise similar to that of many competitive team sports.

Med Sci Sports Exerc. 34(4):723-731.

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