Thursday, June 05, 2008

Lab rats

Thursday, 5 June
another rainy day in paradise

There's an interesting new study out about nutrition in male and female athletes. Based on a study of 14 (!) cyclists, it finds that "women use more fat than men and are better at using the fuel contained in sports drinks. This is the reason why studies on women athletes have shown less performance improvement from carbo-loading than men." Also, the "data showed more fat use when both sexes drank water instead of a carb drink."

So if you want to lose more fat, you should (1) drink water only during your workouts and (2) be female? I wonder how the general rule that women have more body fat than men correlates here--do they use more because they have more?

Maybe I'm not just indulging when I fat load before a 12-hour race. If I use more fat during the event than a male would and if carbo-loading doesn't do me much good, then I should stick to ice cream and donuts and french fries on the day before an endurance event? I am exceedingly poor at consuming "sports/carb drinks" during long workouts, so it's important to make sure I have a fully stocked fat supply to draw from?

I think that performance nutrition is highly personalized. There are gender differences, age differences (where and how you store body fat changes as you age, for example), and experience differences (how I process calories is different from how a desk potato female coworker does, for example). I would no more advise anyone to change their nutritional practices based on a study of just 14 cyclists than I'd suggest that everybody do what I do. But these studies make good blog fodder, don't they? :)

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