RESEARCH: studies reviewed this week - 05 October 2020 to 11 October 2020

NUTRITION: Effect of carbohydrate–protein supplementation on endurance training adaptations

Protein is generally recommend in post-exercise meals that are focused on helping recovery from an exercise bout. I have shared a paper in the past that looks at the dose required (the case for relative protein requirements) which is a useful recommendation. This study set out to compare CHO and CHO+PRO recovery drinks to "examine the influence of post-exercise protein feeding upon the adaptive response to endurance exercise training". The protocol used was either:

  • 1.6 g per kilogram of body mass (g kg BM−1) of carbohydrate immediately after exercise and 1hr later; or
  • an isocaloric carbohydrate–protein solution (CHO-P; 0.8 g carbohydrate kg BM−1 + 0.8 g protein kg BM−1) immediately after exercise and 1hr later.

The authors found that:

Post-exercise protein supplementation up-regulated the expression of mTOR in skeletal muscle over 6 weeks of endurance exercise training. However, the magnitude of improvement in VO2max was similar between groups.

PRACTICAL TAKE AWAY - consuming a protein containing recovery drink post-exercise is beneficial for muscular adaptation and development.

NUTRITION: Competition Nutrition Practices of Elite Ultramarathon Runners

This is my favorite kind of study where the author sets out to see what athletes actually do. The goal was to investigate "specific fueling strategies that elite ultramarathoners undertake to maximize race performance". The author found that:

Despite having limited professional nutritional input into their fueling approaches, all athletes practiced fueling strategies that maximize CHO intake and are congruent with contemporary evidence-based recommendations.

PRACTICAL TAKE AWAY - successful ultramarathon athletes are using the evidence-based recommendations for nutrition and applying them effectively in their races. Be cautious about pursuing alternative recommendations for race nutrition without testing the evidence-based recommendations first.

HEAT: Postexercise Hot-Water Immersion Does Not Further Enhance Heat Adaptation or Performance in Endurance Athletes Training in a Hot Environment

Preparing for hot environments is a tough proposition, but critical to performance success. I've shared studies that show that passive strategies at home (ie not in a hot environment) can be beneficial in preparing for race in hot conditions (hot-water immersion, sauna). I've also shared a study showing how a heat training camp can be incorporated into the final phase of training before a hot race.

However, can you combine these strategies? This study set out to determine if there are "potential additive effects of hot-water immersion (HWI) and training in hot outdoor conditions". The authors found that:

The addition of HWI did not provide further enhancements. Improvements in adaptation appeared to be maximized by the training program in hot conditions.

PRACTICAL TAKE AWAY - if you go on a heat training camp there is no need to add HWI sessions as they do not provide an additional benefit.

NUTRITION: Caffeine improves various aspects of athletic performance in adolescents independent of their 163 C > A CYP1A2 genotypes

Caffeine is a proven ergogenic aid (see this previous study), however, there is always a question about whether or not an individual will be a responder to a particular supplement. This study set out to test "whether variations in 163 C > A CYP1A2 genotypes (rs 762 551) (AA, AC, and CC) modify the ergogenic effects of caffeine (CAF) on strength, power, muscular endurance, agility, and endurance in adolescent athletes". The authors found that:

CAF improves muscular endurance and aerobic performance in adolescent athletes, regardless of their 163 C > A CYP1A2 genotype.

PRACTICAL TAKE AWAY - caffeine appears to be an ergogenic aid regardless of genotype.

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