The effect of a low glycemic vs. high glycemic pre-exercise meal in recreationally trained endurance cyclists

Green T. Waggener, University of West Florida
Insu Kwon, University of West Florida
Larry Wiley, Valdosta State University
Youngil Lee, University of West Florida
Inez Helen Nichols, University of North Florida
Emily Haymes, Florida State University


The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of two iso-kilocaloric (837.2 kJ) pre-exercise meals: A low glycemic meal (LGM) vs. a high glycemic meal (HGM) and a placebo meal in recreational cyclists on endurance cycling. After a 2-d high carbohydrate diet and abstention from exercise, 18 healthy recreationally trained male subjects aged 18 to 35 yrs with a VO2 max of 3.94 ± 0.6 L·min-1 participated in this within-subject design study. Each of three rides consisted of 2 hr of cycling exercise at 55% VO2 max followed by a brief 30 min rest and a moderately high intensity ride to exhaustion at 80% VO2 max. The LGM did not exert a greater ergogenic effect in this study when compared to the iso-kilocaloric HGM. While the effect was not statistically significant, the HGM meal outperformed the LGM and the placebo on time to exhaustion. A fiber-free, glucose-derived meal may be superior to a low glycemic fiber-free whole meal in supporting moderately high intensity exercise in some highly motivated recreationally trained endurance athletes.