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Bonking on purpose?

kjg's picture

I read an article in Triathlete magazine (and then spent several days looking for it again ;-) )  I couldn't find the exact article but here is one which references the same research on active.com:

http://www.active.com/story.cfm?story_id=13188

It is another interesting piece in the nutrition puzzle.....

Comments

eebee's picture

a Little Confused...

So this would be like skating all out for three days in a row, or a few times a day? I was trying to formulate something halfway intelligent in response to this study, but I actually am not sure how deliberately bonking in that respect is different from doing intervals, massive hills, or chasing people on night skates several evenings a week. Back when I used to train faster (and was 7 years younger!), I was faster but bonked myself out earlier in a long-distance event. Now I can skate for hours on end but can't sprint worth a flip. I understand what the article is saying, I'm just having a hard time relating it to a skate-training schedule.  
roadskater's picture

Slacker Does It Right Sometimes

Interesting stuff. Thanks for posting. Ha! The experiment reminded me of Lady in the Water, where the guy just lifted weights with one arm, the same arm. Too funny! Of course this is not the same...

she had subjects exercise one leg once daily and the other leg twice every other day 

So I can think of two things:

  1. It has long been practice for some in running and for that matter USAmerican football to do two-a-days.
  2. It's easy enough to go really light on the carbs before every other short to medium workout.

Interleukin-6 is an important cytokine, or immune system agent, that plays a variety of crucial roles in coordinating the body's response to tissue trauma and stress....[IL6] is believed to facilitate many of the body's adaptations to exercise training, ranging from

  • increased fat burning to greater resistance to
  • muscle damage to
  • improved cognitive function. [Bullets added.]

So, exercising without enough fuel in your system, what they are calling bonking here, triggers that IL-6 release noted above, since "muscles produce much less IL-6 when carbohydrate is consumed during exercise.".

And if you're wanting to lose some fat like I am, take note that "athletes burn more fat when they don't consume carbohydrate during training."

However, the article stresses not to do all workouts while depleted because you can do better workouts when fueled...

...athletes who consistently consume carbohydrate during exercise are able to handle higher training loads than those who don't, due to enhanced recovery.

 Further, the article states that "athletes are able to perform at a higher level when they consume carbohydrate during training," leading to the conclusion regarding workouts that...

the best training recipe is probably a mixture of fully-fueled and under-fueled workouts.

I'm such a slacker and ditz that I often show up for my 30-to-60-minute workouts with no premixed drink at all, though I often have a can of skaterade powder and some hot bottled water rolling 'round my trunk (recalling Cracker's song "Mr. Right," but it's a flashlight and some magazines in that case).

Tonight in fact, without knowing it, I probably did the right thing. I had been drinking Soy Slender and EAS vanilla shakes mixed in with chai tea all day, and I had eaten breadless air sandwiches for lunch, so I was probably undercarbed if not underfueled. Hmm. That leads to other questions.

Sounds like what I used to do often in the park was not that bad, skating for a half hour to an hour or so, goofing off and socializing for an hour or so, then skating another half hour to an hour. Oh the days when Andre was making raspberry shaved ice cones in the park!

And what's the difference between two workouts not far apart and one workout with no carbs? And how is it to do one workout, jack up on cherry coke or raspberry ice, then do another?

Maybe timv will feel like pontificating on this one. I know he likes to see what works for coaches and athletes and do that.

timv's picture

Rediscovery of an old trick?

These days "carbo loading" seems to just mean eating a big dish of spaghetti the night before an event. But in the mid 1970s, back in the stone-age days of The Original Running Boom, carbo loading was a two-stage process: several days of "depletion," basically as described in that article, with long hard workouts and mostly eating fat and protein, followed by a couple of loading days with light workouts and lots of carbs. It was shown (might have been by Dr. David Costill at Ball State University) that this regime caused muscle fibers to "superload" with more glycogen than they would from just the loading phase.

 

My impression is that this practice is a lot less popular than it once was. I know that some runners complained that the "superloading" made them feel heavy and bloated, and beside that the depletion phase was just plain miserable to go through. (When I was in college, I had a teaching assistant for physics who was a competitive marathoner, and sometimes when a big race was coming up he'd just black out right where he was sitting or standing. It was a few years later when I discovered why he did that.)

 

But yeah, in the long term I'd guess that it's generally better to eat sensibly and to be able to do as much high-quality training as possible. There have been so many eccentric athletes, or even borderline crazy ones, who were willing to try just about anything. It seems like they'd all be doing this all the time if there was anything to be gained by it.

 

roadskater's picture

Atkins Then Tuesday Night Skate Diet

Ha. Yeah that depletion phase seems like the Atkins regime a bit I guess, and the superloading a bit like the Tuesday Night Post Skate Diet...though I guess not really. We usually go for the vampire special garlic and onions pizza, whereas a tomato-based pasta with very little cheese might be a better carboload option...but nowhere near as fun.

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