Pre-exercise nutrient availability alters acute metabolic responses to exercise, which could modulate training responsiveness.
To assess acute and chronic effects of exercise performed before versus after nutrient ingestion on whole-body and intramuscular lipid utilization and postprandial glucose metabolism.
(1) Acute, randomized, crossover design (Acute Study); (2) 6-week, randomized, controlled design (Training Study).
Men with overweight/obesity (mean ± standard deviation, body mass index: 30.2 ± 3.5 kg⋅m-2 for Acute Study, 30.9 ± 4.5 kg⋅m-2 for Training Study).
Moderate-intensity cycling performed before versus after mixed-macronutrient breakfast (Acute Study) or carbohydrate (Training Study) ingestion.
Acute Study—exercise before versus after breakfast consumption increased net intramuscular lipid utilization in type I (net change: –3.44 ± 2.63% versus 1.44 ± 4.18% area lipid staining, P < 0.01) and type II fibers (–1.89 ± 2.48% versus 1.83 ± 1.92% area lipid staining, P < 0.05). Training Study—postprandial glycemia was not differentially affected by 6 weeks of exercise training performed before versus after carbohydrate intake (P > 0.05). However, postprandial insulinemia was reduced with exercise training performed before but not after carbohydrate ingestion (P = 0.03). This resulted in increased oral glucose insulin sensitivity (25 ± 38 vs –21 ± 32 mL⋅min-1⋅m-2; P = 0.01), associated with increased lipid utilization during exercise (r = 0.50, P = 0.02). Regular exercise before nutrient provision also augmented remodeling of skeletal muscle phospholipids and protein content of the glucose transport protein GLUT4 (P < 0.05).
Experiments investigating exercise training and metabolic health should consider nutrient-exercise timing, and exercise performed before versus after nutrient intake (ie, in the fasted state) may exert beneficial effects on lipid utilization and reduce postprandial insulinemia.