Carbohydrate-loading during the follicular phase of the menstrual cycle: Effects on muscle glycogen and exercise performance

D. R. Paul, S. M. Mulroy, J. A. Horner, K. A. Jacobs, D. R. Lamb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


The effects of employing a high-carbohydrate diet (carbohydrate-loading) to increase glycogen storage in skeletal muscle are not well established in female athletes. On 4 occasions-2 familiarization trials and 2 experimental trials-6 well-trained female subjects completed 6 15-min continuous intervals of cycling (12 min at 72% VO2max, 1 min at maximal effort, and 2 min at 50% VO2max), followed by a time trial 15 min later. The women consumed their habitual diets (HD; 6-7 g carbohydrate/kg lean body mass) for 3 days after the second familiarization trial and before the first experimental trial. During the 3 days following the first experimental trial, the subjects consumed a high-carbohydrate diet (CD; 9-10 g carbohydrate/kg lean body mass) prior to the second experimental trial. Mean (±SEM) pre-exercise muscle glycogen concentrations were greater after CD versus HD (171.9 ± 8.7 vs. 131.4 ± 10.3 mmol/kg wet weight, P < 0.003). Although 4 of the 6 subjects improved their time-trial performance after CD, mean performance for the time trial was not significantly different between diets (HD: 763.9 ± 35.6 s; CD: 752.9 ± 30.1 s). Thus, female cyclists can increase their muscle glycogen stores after a carbohydrate-loading diet during the follicular phase of the menstrual cycle, but we found no compelling evidence of a dietary effect on performance of a cycling time trial performed after 90 min of moderate-intensity exercise.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)430-441
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Sport Nutrition
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Cycling
  • Exercise
  • Gender

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Endocrinology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Food Science


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