Thursday, July 12, 2012

Fuel the Fire by Jerry Brainum

Do carbs help you train?

   Since carbohydrates are key energy nutrients, sipping on carb drinks while training ought to improve training intensity by decreasing fatigue. That explains why many bodybuilders carry drinks in the gym containing carb or energy supplements. Some research shows that taking in carbs during workouts may lessen cortisol response. Since cortisol is associated with muscle breakdown, curbing cortisol may provide a minor anabolic effect.

   Studies have shown that the older you are, the more cortisol you produce during weight workouts. When men over age 40 took carb drinks during their workouts, their cortisol release levels matched those of 20-year-olds. The only negative aspect is that carb intake blocks the use of fat as fuel during training. It’s a moot point, however, since anaerobic training is powered mainly by circulating blood glucose and muscle glycogen stores—both of which would be maintained if you had a carb drink during training.

   The question is, Can sipping a carb drink during a workout help you train harder? That issue was examined by researchers from Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, Texas, who presented their findings at an annual meeting of the National Strength and Conditioning Association.
Their study featured eight resistance-trained men, average age 23, all of whom were capable of squatting with at least 150 percent of their bodyweight. The subjects participated in a seven-day crossover, double-blind study in which they were placed in either a carb drink or a placebo group. One supplement had 0.3 grams of carb per kilogram (2.2 pounds) of bodyweight and was taken immediately before and after every other set done to exhaustion of back squats. The participants did sets of five reps, using weights equal to 85 percent of one-rep maximum, with three minutes of rest between sets.

   Performance was measured by the total number of sets completed, reps and time to exercise failure. There were no significant differences in the two groups. The researchers concluded that taking in carbs during high-intensity training has no ergogenic effect.

 ©,2012, Jerry Brainum.Any reprinting in any type of media, including electronic and foreign is expressly prohibited.