FTP #39: Chiel Poffé and Peter Hespel –Exogenous ketones in pro cycling: An update on exercise performance and beyond

FTP #38: Dana Lis – Collagen supplementation, explosive exercise performance and implications for sprinters
November 16, 2020
FTP #40: Rachel McCormick & Peter Peeling – Iron deficiency in endurance athletes: from diagnosis to treatment strategies
January 4, 2021

FTP #39: Chiel Poffé and Peter Hespel –Exogenous ketones in pro cycling: An update on exercise performance and beyond

Chiel obtained both his Master’s degree in sport and exercise science as well as his PhD in exercise physiology at the KU Leuven, Belgium. Currently, he works as a postdoctoral researcher in the laboratory of Professor Peter Hespel at the KU Leuven. His research, funded by the Research Fund Flanders (FWO), focuses on the role of ketone bodies in the physiological and muscular response to exercise and training. He also acts as the direct interface with clinicians investigating the potential clinical effects of exogenous ketosis. His research interests include the interplay between nutrition and exercise performance and the regulation of the adaptive response to (overload) training.

Peter is a full professor at KU Leuven, Belgium, where he is teaching courses in exercise physiology and sports nutrition. He is also leading the KU Leuven athletic performance center ‘Bakala Academy’. His research addresses regulation of muscle energy substrate metabolism during exercise, and nutritional strategies to enhance recovery, training adaptation, and performance in endurance sports, predominantly cycling. He is closely involved in the physiological follow-up and nutritional coaching of elite athletes. He is a consultant for the Belgian Olympic team, the Belgian national soccer teams, the Belgian Cycling Federation, the Deceuninck-QuickStep pro cycling team, as well as the Belgian 4 x 400m relay squads.


On this episode:

  • Difference between diet-induced ketosis vs. supplement-induced ketosis
  • The possible effects of exogenous ketones (EK) on MTORC1 stimulation
  • EK on prevention overreaching symptoms
  • Does providing EK, on top of a high-CHO provision, increases performance
  • The effects of EK on muscle acidosis and buffering capacity
  • Providing Sodium Bicarbonate to rescue buffering capacity while on EK
  • Should Pro Cycling Teams take EK during training or competition?
  • Caution in extrapolating results to amateur riders
  • Beyond substrate utilization and performance
  • Take-home messages and final considerations


Articles mentioned during the episode:

Poffé, C., Ramaekers, M., Van Thienen, R., & Hespel, P. (2019). Ketone ester supplementation blunts overreaching symptoms during endurance training overload. The Journal of physiology597(12), 3009-3027.

Poffé, C., Ramaekers, M., Bogaerts, S., & Hespel, P. (2020). Exogenous ketosis impacts neither performance nor muscle glycogen breakdown in prolonged endurance exercise. Journal of Applied Physiology128(6), 1643-1653.

Poffé, C., Ramaekers, M., Bogaerts, S., & Hespel, P. (2020). Bicarbonate Unlocks the Ergogenic Action of Ketone Monoester Intake in Endurance Exercise. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise.

Poffé, C., Wyns, F., Ramaekers, M., & Hespel, P. (2020). Exogenous Ketosis Impairs 30-min Time-Trial Performance Independent of Bicarbonate Supplementation. Medicine And Science In Sports And Exercise.

Poffé, C., & Hespel, P. (2020). Ketone bodies: beyond their role as a potential energy substrate in exercise. The Journal of Physiology598(21), 4749-4750.

Holdsworth, D. A., Cox, P. J., Kirk, T., Stradling, H., Impey, S. G., & Clarke, K. (2017). A ketone ester drink increases postexercise muscle glycogen synthesis in humans. Medicine and science in sports and exercise49(9), 1789.

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