For those skinny biker dudes who can eat a couple of cheddar bratwurst and still looked ripped, I have news. According to nutrition expert Louise M. Burke, Department of Sports Nutrition Australian Institute of Sport Medicine, a steady high fat does not cut it when the pack takes off on a breakaway. True, feasting on a steady fat load of calories does promote oxidation of fat during submax exercise, and thus “spares”glycogen.
Glycogen as you may recall, is the storage form of carbohydrate, and you have a limited supply of this fuel. However, when researchers put cyclists on a high fat diet head-to-head with a cyclists on a traditional high carbohydrate diet, there were no differences in performance time for a 100- kilometer time trial. But wait, there’s more to this story. When the speed was cranked up after the first 100 kilometers, cyclists on the high carbohydrate diet triumphed in the 1-km sprints. What gives? It appears that a chronic high fat intake may down regulate the metabolic pathways needed by the muscles in order to access to glycogen stores. When high intensity exercise escalates the demand for carbo’hydrate, it can’t be delivered fast enough.
Grilled chicken and baked chips, anyone? See you at the finish line first.