Alghannam, A. F., Templeman, I., Tsintzas, K., Reeves, S., Thompson, D., Bilzon, J., & Betts, J. A. (2016). Impact of post-exercise protein ingestion on treadmill-based endurance training adaptation. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 48(5), Supplement abstract number 89.

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This study examined the effects of post-exercise carbohydrate-protein ingestion on the magnitude of exercise-induced endurance training adaptation when compared to carbohydrate-alone supplementation. Ss undertook six weeks of treadmill running (four sessions per week; 70-75 % VO2max, 30-60 minutes per day, four days per week). Ss were assigned randomly to two groups: i) receiving a supplement containing carbohydrate (1.6 g/kg sucrose; N = 12), or ii) receiving carbohydrate-protein (0.8 g/kg sucrose·and 0.8 g/kg whey protein hydrolysate; N = 13). Ingestions were immediately post-exercise and then one hour later. Baseline and follow-up measurements included expired gas, blood, and muscle biopsy samples to determine markers of cardiovascular and intramuscular training adaptation.

The absolute and relative improvement in VO2max as a response to training was not different between groups. However, plasma albumin content increased following the intervention in the carbohydrate-protein group relative to carbohydrate-alone. There was no between-group effect on estimated plasma volume change; however, an increase in plasma volume was shown in the carbohydrate-protein treatment relative to carbohydrate following the intervention. No differences in the change in expression for several key metabolic genes related to mitochondrial biogenesis (e.g. TFAM, PPAR and PGC-1alpha) and carbohydrate/lipid metabolism (e.g. HK, GLUT4 and FABP) were observed between groups.

Implication. The inclusion of protein in a post-exercise recovery supplement increases plasma albumin content when combined with six weeks of treadmill-based endurance training. The magnitude of improvement in VO2max was not different between groups. Post-exercise protein ingestion may be beneficial in amplifying cardiovascular but not intramuscular training adaptation parameters. Observed effects were weak because many possibly associated parameters did not respond to the carbohydrate-protein treatment.

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