Are There Benefits to Carbohydrate Manipulation? With Dr. Asker Jeukendrup

We sit down with sports nutrition expert Asker Jeukendrup to discuss potential performance gains from modifying carbohydrate load during training.

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Photo: Merve Sehirli on Unsplash

It wasn’t long ago that most athletes, in the grand scheme of training, neglected the importance of nutrition, instead prioritizing time spent on the bike.  

Now, nutritional periodization and other methods of manipulation are rapidly rising in popularity. Many people strongly believe that significant performance gains are being left on the table if they neglect nutritional manipulation.  

Today, we sit down with one of the top sports nutrition experts to discuss the potential performance gains from modifying the amount of carbohydrate made available at a given time relative to training load. 

What are the benefits of low and high carbohydrate consumption and manipulation? What are the potential dangers? We’ll explain four distinct approaches:  

  • First, we’ll talk about the fasted workout—easily done by skipping breakfast.  
  • Second, we’ll discuss two-a-day workouts to reduce muscle glycogen. 
  • Third, we’ll consider low-carbohydrate diets. 
  • And, finally, we’ll dissect so-called “train-high, sleep-low” approaches in which an athlete will intentionally skip the recovery meal after a hard workout in order to ride the next morning under low carbohydrate conditions. 

Our leading expert, who returns to Fast Talk, is Dr. Asker Jeukendrup, known for his work with many elite athletes, in particular the cyclists of the Jumbo-Visma WorldTour team, and the Dutch Olympic Federation. 

We’ll also hear from a host of other great coaches and researchers, including Dr. Brian Carson, Joe Friel, Jim Rutberg, and Sondre Skarli. 

Put that bag of popcorn down! Let’s make you fast! 

For more on nutritional periodization, check out Fast Talk, episode 23: How Periodization Works for Your Nutrition.

References

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Hawley, J. A., & Leckey, J. J. (2015). Carbohydrate Dependence During Prolonged, Intense Endurance Exercise. Sports Medicine, 45(Suppl 1), 5–12. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1007/s40279-015-0400-1

Impey, S. G., Hearris, M. A., Hammond, K. M., Bartlett, J. D., Louis, J., Close, G. L., & Morton, J. P. (2018). Fuel for the Work Required: A Theoretical Framework for Carbohydrate Periodization and the Glycogen Threshold Hypothesis. Sports Medicine, 48(5), 1031–1048. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1007/s40279-018-0867-7

Jeukendrup, A. E. (2017). Periodized Nutrition for Athletes. Sports Medicine, 47(Suppl 1), 51–63. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1007/s40279-017-0694-2

Lane, S. C., Camera, D. M., Lassiter, D. G., Areta, J. L., Bird, S. R., Yeo, W. K., … Hawley, J. A. (2015). Effects of sleeping with reduced carbohydrate availability on acute training responses. Journal of Applied Physiology, 119(6), 643–655. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1152/japplphysiol.00857.2014

Larsen, M. S., Holm, L., Svart, M. V., Hjelholt, A. J., Bengtsen, M. B., Dollerup, O. L., … Hansen, M. (2020). Effects of protein intake prior to carbohydrate-restricted endurance exercise: a randomized crossover trial. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 17(1), 7. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1186/s12970-020-0338-z

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Episode Transcript

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