A New Method of Carbohydrate Loading
Endurance athletes may be able to benefit as much from fats as they do from carbohydrates. A study from the NSCA's Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research.
Research shows that endurance athletes who can store more muscle glycogen will have some advantage over other athletes who exhaust muscle glycogen stores earlier in competitions. Carbohydrate (CHO) loading has been used for many years to enhance athletic performance in events lasting less than 90 min. However, research also supports the benefits of a high-fat diet over a high-CHO diet for enhancing an endurance athlete’s performance. So which method is more effective?
A study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research hypothesized that omega-3 chia loading could be more beneficial than traditional CHO loading because its high-fat and moderate CHO composition might improve endurance fuel usage. Six highly trained endurance male athletes were recruited to perform a high-intensity workout for two days before testing. The athletes were then required to drink either an omega-3 chia loading drink (experimental) or a CHO loading drink (control) for two days before endurance performance trials. There were no statistical differences (t(5) = 0.232, p = 0.083) between omega-3 chia loading (mean 10k time = 37 min, 49 s) and CHO loading (mean 10k time = 37 min, 43 s). Thus, omega-3 chia loading with additional CHO appears to be an option for CHO loading for endurance events lasting less than 90 min.
Professional members can read the full-text article by using journal links on the NSCA Publications Page (opens in new window). Illian, TG, Casey, JC, and Bishop, A. Omega-3 chia seed loading as a means of carbohydrate loading. J Strength Cond Res 25(1): 61-65, 2011.
About the Author
NSCA Publications Department