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Effect of short-term fat adaptation on high-intensity training

STEPTO, NIGEL K.; CAREY, ANDREW L.; STAUDACHER, HEIDI M.; CUMMINGS, NICOLA K.; BURKE, LOUISE M.; HAWLEY, JOHN A.

Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: March 2002 - Volume 34 - Issue 3 - pp 449-455
BASIC SCIENCES: Original Investigations

STEPTO, N. K., A. L. CAREY, H. M. STAUDACHER, N. K. CUMMINGS, L. M. BURKE, and J. A. HAWLEY. Effect of short-term fat adaptation on high-intensity training. Med. Sci. Sports Exerc., Vol. 34, No. 3, pp. 449–455, 2002.

Purpose: To determine the effect of short-term (3-d) fat adaptation on high-intensity exercise training in seven competitive endurance athletes (maximal O2 uptake 5.0 ± 0.5 L·min−1, mean ±SD).

Methods: Subjects consumed a standardized diet on d-0 then, in a randomized cross-over design, either 3-d of high-CHO (11 g·kg−1d−1 CHO, 1 g·kg−1·d−1 fat; HICHO) or an isoenergetic high-fat (2.6 g CHO·kg−1·d−1, 4.6 g FAT·kg−1·d−1; HIFAT) diet separated by an 18-d wash out. On the 1st (d-1) and 4th (d-4) day of each treatment, subjects completed a standardized laboratory training session consisting of a 20-min warm-up at 65% of V̇O2peak (232 ± 23W) immediately followed by 8 × 5 min work bouts at 86 ± 2% of V̇O2peak (323 ± 32 W) with 60-s recovery.

Results: Respiratory exchange ratio (mean for bouts 1, 4, and 8) was similar on d-1 for HIFAT and HICHO (0.91 ± 0.04 vs 0.92 ± 0.03) and on d-4 after HICHO (0.92 ± 0.03) but fell to 0.85 ± 0.03 (P < 0.05) on d-4 after HIFAT. Accordingly, the rate of fat oxidation increased from 31 ± 13 on d-1 to 61 ± 25 μmol·kg−1·min−1 on d-4 after HIFAT (P < 0.05). Blood lactate concentration was similar on d-1 and d-4 of HICHO and on d-1 of HIFAT (3.5 ± 0.9 and 3.2 ± 1.0 vs 3.7 ± 1.2 mM) but declined to 2.4 ± 0.5 mM on d-4 after HIFAT (P < 0.05). Ratings of perception of effort (legs) were similar on d-1 for HIFAT and HICHO (14.8 ± 1.5 vs 14.1 ± 1.4) and on d-4 after HICHO (13.8 ± 1.8) but increased to 16.0 ± 1.3 on d-4 after HIFAT (P < 0.05).

Conclusions: 1) competitive endurance athletes can perform intense interval training during 3-d exposure to a high-fat diet, 2) such exercise elicited high rates of fat oxidation, but 3) compared with a high-carbohydrate diet, training sessions were associated with increased ratings of perceived exertion.

Exercise Metabolism Group, School of Medical Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, RMIT University, Bundoora, 3083, AUSTRALIA; Sports Science and Sports Medicine, Australian Institute of Sport, Belconnen 2616, AUSTRALIA

Submitted for publication March 2001.

Accepted for publication June 2001.

©2002The American College of Sports Medicine