New research reported by the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition (JISSN) indicates that a liquid carbohydrate and protein (C + P) supplement ingested early during recovery from a cycling time trial could enhance a subsequent 60-minute effort on the same day vs. an isoenergetic liquid carbohydrate supplement. The cyclists’ performance was compared to the ingestion of the C + P consisting of 0.8 grams/kilogram of the cyclist’s weight of Carbohydrate & 0.4 grams/kg of protein vs. the carbohydrate supplement consisting of 1.2 grams/kilogram of the cyclist’s body weight. The C + P show increased recovery over the carbohydrate only supplement.
The methodology used was an industry standard meal plan consisting of the first exercise bout, 2 hours after a standardized breakfast. Following the exercise bout the cyclists consumed the supplements at 10, 60, and 120 minutes, followed by a standardized meal at 4 hours post exercise. At 6 hours past the first exercise bout, consisting of one hour, all-out maximal cycling, the cyclists repeated the exercise bout. There was a significant reduction in performance and power for both the C + P and C groups, but the C + P group showed significantly greater fat oxidation and respiratory exchange ratio (RER).
Since free fatty acids (FFA) have considerably more carbon and hydrogen, but less oxygen than glucose, metabolizing FFA will require more oxygen. This will cause the RER to drop to a value less than 1.0 when fats are being metabolized.
The RER of pure fat metabolization is approximately 0.70.
Previous experiments have compared protein supplementation versus carbohydrate supplementation. Carbohydrate supplementation, post exercise, demonstrated increased performance, both long and short term over those consuming protein supplementation post exercise. The object of additional experimentation will be to determine the correct ratios of protein/carbohydrate supplementation for optimal recovery and performance.
The conclusion of this research, under these experimental conditions indicates that consuming a liquid carbohydrate-protein supplement, immediately post exercise increases fat oxidation, increases recovery and improves subsequent, same day, 60 minute maximal cycling efforts when compared to a carbohydrate only supplement.
The limitations of this research are the limited number of subjects (16), and variation. It will take larger studies and variations in ratios, quantity, quality and timing of recovery meals before we can make specific recommendations to maximize performance.
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