Innovations in athletic preparation: Role of substrate availability to modify training adaptation and performance
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World records for athletic events continue to improve and in the search for superior methods to gain a competitive edge, coaches and athletes are constantly searching for the latest "magic bullet". Although it is assumed that optimal adaptation to the demands of repeated training sessions requires a diet that can sustain muscle energy reserves, this premise does not consider the unsolved longstanding question of whether it is a lack or a surplus of a substrate that triggers the training adaptation. As such, recent scientific enquiry has re-focused attention on the role of substrate availability before, during, and after training to amplify the training adaptation. There has also been a resurgence of interest in the potential for protein ingestion to improve performance and/or promote training-induced adaptations in skeletal muscle. Altitude training (real or simulated) is now an accepted part of competition preparation for many athletic events, and such interventions attract their own nutritional issues. These and other diet-training interactions with the potential to alter training adaptation and performance are discussed.
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