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Differences in the metabolic and hormonal response to exercise between racing cyclists and untrained individuals

Journal of Physiology 258(1): 1-18
Differences in the metabolic and hormonal response to exercise between racing cyclists and untrained individuals
1. Six well-trained cyclists and six untrained subjects were studied during and immediately after four successive 7 min periods of exercise at 30, 45, 60 and 75% of their maximal work capacity. 2. Venous blood samples were taken at rest, at the end of each exercise period and 5 min following the end of exercise, for estimation of metabolites in blood and plasma insulin, growth hormone, cortisol and catecholamines. 3. The results showed significant differences in the mobilization and utilization of muscle fuels between the athletically fit cyclists and the untrained group. In the cyclists, glucose, glycerol and free fatty acid concentrations were higher, but lactate, pyruvate and alanine were lower than in the untrained subjects during exercise. 4. Plasma catecholamines rose in both groups during exercise but the rise was significantly less in the racing cyclists. Plasma insulin was depressed to a greater extent in the untrained subjects during exercise and plasma glucagon rose to a greater extent during strenuous exercise and remained elevated after the end of exercise in the untrained group. Plasma human growth hormone rose to a greater extent during exercise and remained elevated after the end of exercise in the untrained group. Plasma cortisol fell at low and moderate exercise rates in both groups, but to a smaller extent in the cyclists. Cortisol values rose at higher workloads and were significantly higher in the cyclists at the end of exercise. 5. It is concluded that there are significant differences in the metabolic and hormonal responses to exercise between athletically trained and untrained individuals, even when the physically fit subjects work at the same percentage of their maximal capacity as the unfit subjects.

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Accession: 005151392

PMID: 940045

DOI: 10.1113/jphysiol.1976.sp011403

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