Time to Fatigue

Research trials that test how long it takes an individual to exhaust during an activity have shown a clear benefit from consuming a carb-rich pre-competition meal. Not only are individuals able to last longer, but also a precompetition meal helps:

  • maintain blood sugar (glucose) levels to stave off that dreaded drop in blood sugar;
  • save stored carbohydrates (glycogen);
  • improve performance.

Consider the results of this simple study protocol—subjects who skipped breakfast before the exercise trial bonked during their session. The study took seven cyclists and observed them as they cycled until they tired out. One group was given a hundred grams of carbohydrates three hours before exercise, while the other group exercised after an overnight fast. Exercise time was significantly longer for the athletes consuming breakfast in comparison with the athletes who exercised in the fasted state. Alongside the increased exercise time to fatigue, there were no negative effects on performance related to increased insulin and using fat as fuel after carbohydrate consumption.

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