Luden, N. D., Saunders, M. J., Pratt, C. A., Bickford, A. S., Todd, K., & Flohr, J. A. (2006). Effects of a six-day carbohydrate/protein intervention on muscle damage, soreness, and performance in runners. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 38(5), Supplement abstract 1995.

The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of a six-day regimen of CHO+P VS. CHO post-exercise beverage consumption on muscle damage, muscle soreness, and race performance. NCAA Division I cross-country runners (M = 11; F = 12) completed traditional in-season training for six days before a cross-country race. Immediately following each training session, Ss ingested either a 10 ml/kgBW of a 14.6% CHO beverage or a 14.6+3.65% CHO+P beverage, administered in a randomly counter-balanced, double-blind design. Following a 21-day washout period, Ss repeated the same protocol as above, receiving the other beverage. Plasma CPK and muscle soreness were obtained the morning prior to intervention onset and were compared to samples obtained on the sixth day. Race performance was assessed using the athlete’s finishing position (rank) among the male (8 km) and female (5 km) groups.

After five days of beverage administration, plasma CPK and post-intervention muscle soreness were significantly lower in the CHO+P condition than in the CHO condition despite no differences at baseline. There was no difference in performance between the two conditions. The levels of muscle damage and soreness were relatively low during both treatments. Because neither group demonstrated high levels of muscle damage, the recovery benefits of CHO+P may not have been large enough to cause observable improvements in running performance.

Implication. A carbohydrate-protein beverage vs. carbohydrate beverage regimen during training reduced day-to-day muscle soreness but did not improve performance.

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