Background: “Sleep-low” consists of a sequential periodization of carbohydrate (CHO) availability—low glycogen recovery after “train high” glycogen-depleting interval training, followed by an overnight-fast and light intensity training (“train low”) the following day. This strategy leads to an upregulation of several exercise-responsive signaling proteins, but the chronic effect on performance has received less attention. We investigated the effects of short-term exposure to this strategy on endurance performance. Methods: Following training familiarization, 11 trained cyclists were divided into two groups for a one-week intervention—one group implemented three cycles of periodized CHO intake to achieve the sleep-low strategy over six training sessions (SL, CHO intake: 6 g·kg−1
), whereas the control group consumed an even distribution of CHO over the day (CON). Tests were a 2 h submaximal ride and a 20 km time trial. Results: SL improved their performance (mean: +3.2%; p
< 0.05) compared to CON. The improvement was associated with a change in pacing strategy with higher power output during the second part of the test. No change in substrate utilization was observed after the training period for either group. Conclusion: Implementing the “sleep-low” strategy for one week improved performance by the same magnitude previously seen in a three-week intervention, without any significant changes in selected markers of metabolism.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited