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Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise:
Applied Sciences: Psychobiology and Behavioral Strategies

Effect of Carbohydrate and Prolonged Exercise on Affect and Perceived Exertion


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Introduction: It has been reported that perceptions of exertion are attenuated during prolonged cycle exercise, following CHO ingestion. However, no studies to date have examined the influence of such feedings on psychological affect during prolonged exercise, even though affect and perceived exertion are different constructs.

Purpose: To examine the influence of regular CHO beverage ingestion on affect (pleasure–displeasure) and perceived exertion during prolonged cycle exercise.

Methods: In a randomized, double-blind, counterbalanced design, nine endurance trained males cycled for 2 h at 70% V̇O2max on two occasions, separated by 1 wk. On each occasion, they consumed either a water placebo (PLA) or a 6.4% carbohydrate-electrolyte solution (CHO) immediately before they cycled (5 mL·kg−1 body mass) and every 15 min thereafter (2 mL·kg−1 body mass). Pleasure–displeasure was assessed before, during, and after the prolonged bout of cycling.

Results: During exercise, reported pleasure initially improved and was subsequently maintained in the CHO trial, in contrast to a decline reported in the PLA trial. Ratings of pleasure–displeasure were more positive during recovery in the CHO trial compared with the PLA trial (P < 0.05) and the only significant increase (P < 0.05) in pleasure occurred 15 min postexercise in the CHO trial only. RPE increased (P < 0.05) over the course of the bout of cycling and was lower (P < 0.05) 75 min into exercise in the CHO trial. Immediately postexercise, plasma glucose concentration was higher in the CHO compared with the PLA trial (P < 0.05). A main effect of trial was found for plasma cortisol concentration, with higher values reported in PLA trial.

Conclusion: Results suggest that CHO ingestion enhanced feelings of pleasure during and following prolonged cycling and highlighted the importance of assessing not only “what,” but also “how” a person feels.

©2005The American College of Sports Medicine


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