Research Article| Volume 4, ISSUE 4, P431-446, December 2001

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Influence of weight training exercise and modification of hormonal response on skeletal muscle growth

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      To investigate the influence of carbohydrate (CHO) consumption on the acute hormonal response, and chronic adaptation to weight lifting exercise, two studies were conducted. Following a four-hour fast, seven young men (21.3 ± 3.5 y) performed (on two occasions) a nine-station weight lifting protocol, completing 3 sets of 10 repetitions at 75% of IRM (series 1). Randomly assigned, one session included the ingestion of a non-caloric placebo, and the other, a 6% CHO solution. For series 2, two groups of young men (21.3±1.5 y) participated in 12 weeks of progressive resistance weight training. Training for one group included the ingestion of a non-caloric placebo, and the other, a 6% CHO solution. In series 1, weight lifting exercise with CHO ingestion significantly (p < 0.05) elevated blood glucose and plasma insulin levels above baseline, as well as that occurring with the placebo. This resulted in a significant blunting of the cortisol response (7% with CHO compared to 99% with placebo). These findings indicate that CHO consumption during weight lifting exercise can modify the acute hormonal response to exercise. With series 2, CHO consumption continued to blunt the cortisol response to exercise during the twelve weeks of training. This is in contrast to significantly elevated cortisol levels observed for the placebo control group. Corresponding with the modified response patterns were differences in muscle growth. Weight training exercise with CHO ingestion resulted in significantly greater gains in both type I (19.1%) and type II (22.5%) muscle fibre area than weight training exercise alone. The difference in the cortisol response accounted for 74% of the variance (r= 0.8579, p= 0.006) of change in type I muscle fibre area, and 52.3% of the variance (r= 0.7231, p= 0.043) of change in type II muscle fibre area. These findings suggest that the modification of the cortisol response associated with CHO ingestion can positively impact the skeletal muscle hypertrophic adaptation to weigh training.
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