This randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study was designed to determine the influence of exercise mode, and 6% carbohydrate (C) versus placebo (P) beverage ingestion, on ratings of perceived exertion (RPE) and hormonal regulation to 2.5 h of high-intensity running and cycling (approximately 75% maximum oxygen uptake) by ten triathletes who acted as their own controls. Statistical significance was set at P < or = 0.05. The pattern of change in RPE over time was significantly different between C and P ingestion (P < 0.001) and between running and cycling modes (P = 0.001). The lowest RPE values were seen in the C-cycling sessions and the highest in the P-running sessions. The pattern of change in the respiratory exchange ratio and fat and carbohydrate oxidation rates were significantly different between the C and P conditions but not between the running and cycling modes. C relative to P ingestion (but not exercise mode) was associated with higher plasma levels of glucose and insulin and lower plasma cortisol and growth hormone levels. The pattern of change in plasma levels of catecholamines and lactate did not differ between the C and P conditions. These data indicate that a lower RPE was associated with a higher level of carbohydrate oxidation, higher plasma glucose and insulin levels, and lower plasma cortisol and growth hormone levels during cycle exercise following C supplementation as compared to P feeding. These findings support a physiological link between RPE and carbohydrate substrate availability as well as selected hormonal regulation during cycle exercise.
Eur J Appl Physiol. 80(2):92-99.