Efficacy of Carbohydrate Sports Drink as an Ergogenic Aid in Competitive Male Cyclists in Kiambu County, Kenya
Kung’u, Moses Gicharu
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The competitiveness of professional sports has forced athletes to find all mean possible to outperform their rivals. One of such ways is the use of carbohydrate sports drink to refuel and hydrate before, during or after high endurance competition. This study aimed at ascertaining the efficacy of carbohydrate sports drink (CHO 6g, and Na 51 mg in 100ml) as an ergogenic aid in male cyclists aged 18-30 years at Kikuyu in Kiambu County, Kenya. The study objectives were to establish the effect of using 200ml carbohydrate sports drink after every 20 minutes for 60 minutes, on; aerobic threshold, aerobic power, blood lactate threshold, speed, distance and glucose level in male cyclists. The study involved twelve male cyclists sampled through purposive and census sampling. The average age of the cyclists was 20.9 ± 2.39 years with average body mass of 63 ± 9.99 kg and average experience of 3.8 ± 1.8 years. A cross over experimental design was used; the dependent variables were blood lactate threshold, peak aerobic power and aerobic threshold. Independent variable was use of carbohydrate sports drink in cycling exercise. Data of the study was analyzed using SPSS version 20. Independent t-test was used to establish the difference between effects of carbohydrate sports drink and placebo on blood lactate, aerobic threshold, aerobic power, speed and distance during the sixty minutes of cycling test. Pearson’s correlation was used to test the relationship between aerobic threshold and aerobic power generated during the 60 minutes cycling test. Cyclists on carbohydrate treatment demonstrated a high level of blood lactate at p<0.05 level of significance. However, there was no significant difference between blood lactate accumulation when cyclists were on placebo or carbohydrate-based treatment p = 0.902. There was no significant difference in aerobic threshold between placebo and carbohydrate-based treatments of male cyclists during the sixty minutes trial p = 0.799. A significant difference in peak aerobic power at p = 0.004 when cyclists were treated with carbohydrate 86.1± 33.41 to 74.3± 33.42 watts than when on placebo 74.1± 28.67 to 62.3 ±27.73 watts was noted. There was no relationship established between lactate produced and speed generated by cyclists during the 60 minutes cycling experiment p = 0.244. There was a constant blood glucose level recorded when cyclists were given a carbohydrate drink however, blood glucose irregularly fluctuated when cyclists were on placebo. A significant difference in blood glucose levels when cyclists were on placebo treatment compared to carbohydrate-based treatment p = 0.001 was noted. The study concluded that 6% carbohydrate sport drink was not effective in improving aerobic threshold and blood lactate threshold. However, 6% carbohydrate sports drink was effective in improving aerobic power. It is recommended that cyclists can consume 6% carbohydrate sports drink during endurance exercise with an aim of improving aerobic power.