Protein For Endurance Performance

Traditional supplements for fueling endurance performance contain about 6% carbohydrates. But is glycogen replenishment what it's all about? A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research compared this basic carb supplement to a beverage containing half the carbohydrates (3%) along with 1.2% protein, roughly a 2:1 ratio of carbs to protein.

To test the effect, scientists had 14 experienced female cyclists and triathletes take a pair of 3 hour rides varying their effort between 45% and 70% of maximum. Then they did a final ride to exhaustion cranking up the intensity to 75% of max output. Every 20 minutes, they got 275 mL (about 9 fl. oz.) of one supplement. Time to exhaustion on the final ride was significantly greater for the carbs + protein group.

True Strength Moment: Never underestimate the potential of protein. In analyzing the results, researchers concluded that it was likely protein played a role in the greater performance seen in cyclists who got a combination of carbohydrates and protein. The presence of amino acids more than made up for reduced carbohydrate density. This suggests a sound strategy when fueling up for a demanding challenge or recovering immediately afterward would be consuming proteins for muscle support with carbohydrates for glycogen replenishment.
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