Coffee and carbohydrates boost athletic drive

July 10th, 2008 - 2:55 pm ICT by IANS  

Sydney, July 10 (IANS) A combination of coffee and carbohydrates helped athletes recover faster from strenuous exercise by replenishing glycogen, the main fuel source for muscles. The study’s co-author John Hawley said athletes who added caffeine to their post-exercise meal had 66 per cent more glycogen in their muscles than those who ate only carbohydrates.

“If you have 66 per cent more fuel for the next day’s training or competition, there’s no question you’ll be able to go farther and faster,” said Hawley, head, RMIT’s Exercise Metabolism Group, said.

“While it’s been established that carbohydrates and caffeine improve a variety of athletic performances, this is the first study that has revealed that combining caffeine with carbohydrates after you’ve exercised can actually help your muscles refuel more rapidly.”

Hawley said the research could help Olympic athletes, who were looking for an edge over their competitors.

“But because caffeine can potentially have negative effects - such as disturbing sleep or causing the jitters - athletes who want to incorporate it into their recovery routines should experiment and see what works for them well before any serious competitions,” he said, reports Sciencealert.

The study involved four assessment trials with seven endurance cyclists, who were given either a plain carbohydrate drink or one with caffeine (8 mg per kg of body weight or the equivalent of 5-6 strong cups of coffee).

The cyclists rode a cycle ergometer until exhaustion and four hours later, those who had consumed the drink containing caffeine had 66 per cent higher glycogen levels in their muscles compared to those who had the carbohydrate-only drink.

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