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Isocaloric Carbohydrate Versus Carbohydrate-Protein Ingestion and Cycling Time-Trial Performance

Rebecca J. Toone and James A. Betts

This study was designed to compare the effects of energy-matched carbohydrate (CHO) and carbohydrate-protein (CHO-PRO) supplements on cycling time-trial performance. Twelve competitive male cyclists and triathletes each completed 2 trials in a randomized and counterbalanced order that were separated by 5–10 d and applied in a double-blind manner. Participants performed a 45-min variable-intensity exercise protocol on a cycle ergometer while ingesting either a 9% CHO solution or a mixture of 6.8% CHO plus 2.2% protein in volumes providing 22 kJ/kg body mass. Participants were then asked to cycle 6 km in the shortest time possible. Blood glucose and lactate concentrations were measured every 15 min during exercise, along with measures of substrate oxidation via indirect calorimetry, heart rate, and ratings of perceived exertion. Mean time to complete the 6-km time trial was 433 ± 21 s in CHO trials and 438 ± 22 s in CHO-PRO trials, which represents a 0.94% (CI: 0.01, 1.86) decrement in performance with the inclusion of protein (p = .048). However, no other variable measured in this study was significantly different between trials. Reducing the quantity of CHO included in a supplement and replacing it with protein may not represent an effective nutritional strategy when the supplement is ingested during exercise. This may reflect the central ergogenic influence of exogenous CHO during such activity.

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Growth-Hormone Responses to Consecutive Exercise Bouts With Ingestion of Carbohydrate Plus Protein

James A. Betts, Keith A. Stokes, Rebecca J. Toone, and Clyde Williams

Endocrine responses to repeated exercise have barely been investigated, and no data are available regarding the mediating influence of nutrition. On 3 occasions, participants ran for 90 min at 70% VO2max (R1) before a second exhaustive treadmill run at the same intensity (R2; 91.6 ± 17.9 min). During the intervening 4-hr recovery, participants ingested either 0.8 g sucrose · kg−1 · hr−1 with 0.3 g · kg−1 · hr−1 whey-protein isolate (CHO-PRO), 0.8 g sucrose · kg−1 · hr−1 (CHO), or 1.1 g sucrose · kg−1 · hr−1 (CHO-CHO). The latter 2 solutions therefore matched the former for carbohydrate or for available energy, respectively. Serum growth-hormone concentrations increased from 2 ± 1 μg/L to 17 ± 8 μg/L during R1 considered across all treatments (M ± SD; p ≤ .01). Concentrations were similar immediately after R2 irrespective of whether CHO or CHO-CHO was ingested (19 ± 4 μg/L and 19 ± 5 μg/L, respectively), whereas ingestion of CHO-PRO produced an augmented response (31 ± 4 μg/L; p ≤ .05). Growth-hormone-binding protein concentrations were unaffected by R1 but increased similarly across all treatments during R2 (from 414 ± 202 pmol/L to 577 ± 167 pmol/L; p ≤ .01), as was the case for plasma total testosterone (from 9.3 ± 3.3 nmol/L to 14.7 ± 4.6 nmol/L; p ≤ .01). There was an overall treatment effect for serum cortisol (p ≤ .05), with no specific differences at any given time point but lower concentrations immediately after R2 with CHO-PRO (608 ± 133 nmol/L) than with CHO (796 ± 278 nmol/L) or CHO-CHO (838 ± 134 nmol/L). Ingesting carbohydrate with added whey-protein isolate during short-term recovery from 90 min of treadmill running increases the growth-hormone response to a second exhaustive exercise bout of similar duration.