The effect of a preexercise meal on time to fatigue during prolonged cycling exercise

Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1999 Mar;31(3):464-71. doi: 10.1097/00005768-199903000-00017.


Purpose and methods: Seven subjects exercised to exhaustion on a bicycle ergometer at a workload corresponding to an intensity of 70% maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max). On one occasion (FED), subjects consumed a preexercise carbohydrate (CHO) containing breakfast (100 g CHO) 3 h before exercise. On the other occasion (FASTED), subjects exercised after an overnight fast. Exercise time to fatigue was significantly longer (P < 0.05) when subjects consumed the breakfast (136+/-14 min) compared with when they exercised in the fasted state (109+/-12 min).

Results: Pre- and post-exercise muscle glycogen concentrations, respiratory exchange ratio, carbohydrate and fat oxidation, and lactate and insulin concentrations were not significantly different between the two trials. Insulin concentrations decreased significantly (P < 0.05) from 4.7+/-0.05 microIU.mL(-1) to 2.8+/-0.4 microIU.mL(-1) in FED and from 6.6+/-0.6 microIU.mL(-1) to 3.7+/-0.6 microIU.mL(-1) in FASTED subjects and free fatty acid concentrations (FFA) increased significantly (P < 0.05) from 0.09+/-0.02 mmol.L(-1) to 1.4+/-0.6 mmol.L(-1) in FED and from 0.17+/-0.02 mmol.L(-) to 0.74+/-0.27 mmol.L(-1) in FASTED subjects over the duration of the trials.

Conclusions: In conclusion, the important finding of this study is the increased time to fatigue when subjects ingested the CHO meal with no negative effects ascribed to increased insulin concentrations and decreased FFA concentrations after CHO ingestion.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Bicycling / physiology*
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Dietary Carbohydrates*
  • Eating*
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Fatty Acids, Nonesterified / blood
  • Glycogen / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Insulin / blood
  • Lactic Acid / blood
  • Male
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism
  • Oxygen Consumption
  • Physical Endurance / physiology*
  • Respiration


  • Blood Glucose
  • Dietary Carbohydrates
  • Fatty Acids, Nonesterified
  • Insulin
  • Lactic Acid
  • Glycogen