Protein intake in the early recovery period after exhaustive exercise improves performance the following day
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionJournal of Applied Physiology. 2018, 125, 1731-1742. 10.1152/japplphysiol.01132.2017
The aim of the present study was to investigate the effect of protein and carbohydrate ingestion during early recovery from exhaustive exercise on performance after 18-h recovery. Eight elite cyclists (V̇o2max: 74.0 ± 1.6 ml·kg−1·min−1) completed two exercise and diet interventions in a double-blinded, randomized, crossover design. Participants cycled first at 73% of V̇o2max (W73%) followed by 1-min intervals at 90% of V̇o2max until exhaustion. During the first 2 h of recovery, participants ingested either 1.2 g carbohydrate·kg−1·h−1 (CHO) or 0.8 g carbohydrate + 0.4 g protein·kg−1·h−1 (CHO + PROT). The diet during the remaining recovery period was similar for both interventions and adjusted to body weight. After an 18-h recovery, cycling performance was assessed with a 10-s sprint test, 30 min of cycling at W73%, and a cycling time trial (TT). The TT was 8.5% faster (41:53 ± 1:51 vs. 45:26 ± 1:32 min; P < 0.03) after CHO + PROT compared with CHO. Mean power output during the sprints was 3.7% higher in CHO + PROT compared with CHO (1,063 ± 54 vs. 1,026 ± 53 W; P = 0.01). Nitrogen balance in the recovery period was negative in CHO and neutral in CHO + PROT (−82.4 ± 11.5 vs. 7.0 ± 15.4 mg/kg; P < 0.01). In conclusion, TT and sprint performances were improved 18 h after exhaustive cycling by CHO + PROT supplementation during the first 2 h of recovery compared with isoenergetic CHO supplementation. Our results indicate that intake of carbohydrate plus protein after exhaustive endurance exercise more rapidly converts the body from a catabolic to an anabolic state than carbohydrate alone, thus speeding recovery and improving subsequent cycling performance.
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