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Thomas M. Doering, Peter R. Reaburn, Stuart M. Phillips and David G. Jenkins

Participation rates of masters athletes in endurance events such as long-distance triathlon and running continue to increase. Given the physical and metabolic demands of endurance training, recovery practices influence the quality of successive training sessions and, consequently, adaptations to training. Research has suggested that, after muscle-damaging endurance exercise, masters athletes experience slower recovery rates in comparison with younger, similarly trained athletes. Given that these discrepancies in recovery rates are not observed after non–muscle-damaging exercise, it is suggested that masters athletes have impairments of the protein remodeling mechanisms within skeletal muscle. The importance of postexercise protein feeding for endurance athletes is increasingly being acknowledged, and its role in creating a positive net muscle protein balance postexercise is well known. The potential benefits of postexercise protein feeding include elevating muscle protein synthesis and satellite cell activity for muscle repair and remodeling, as well as facilitating muscle glycogen resynthesis. Despite extensive investigation into age-related anabolic resistance in sedentary aging populations, little is known about how anabolic resistance affects postexercise muscle protein synthesis and thus muscle remodeling in aging athletes. Despite evidence suggesting that physical training can attenuate but not eliminate age-related anabolic resistance, masters athletes are currently recommended to consume the same postexercise dietary protein dose (approximately 20 g or 0.25 g/kg/meal) as younger athletes. Given the slower recovery rates of masters athletes after muscle-damaging exercise, which may be due to impaired muscle remodeling mechanisms, masters athletes may benefit from higher doses of postexercise dietary protein, with particular attention directed to the leucine content of the postexercise bolus.

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Thomas M. Doering, James W. Fell, Michael D. Leveritt, Ben Desbrow and Cecilia M. Shing

The purpose of this study was to investigate if acute caffeine exposure via mouth-rinse improved endurance cycling time-trial performance in well-trained cyclists. It was hypothesized that caffeine exposure at the mouth would enhance endurance cycling time-trial performance. Ten well-trained male cyclists (mean± SD: 32.9 ± 7.5 years, 74.7 ± 5.3kg, 176.8 ± 5.1cm, VO2peak = 59.8 ± 3.5ml·kg–1·min–1) completed two experimental timetrials following 24 hr of dietary and exercise standardization. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, cross-over design was employed whereby cyclists completed a time-trial in the fastest time possible, which was equivalent work to cycling at 75% of peak aerobic power output for 60 min. Cyclists were administered 25ml mouth-rinses for 10 s containing either placebo or 35mg of anhydrous caffeine eight times throughout the time-trial. Perceptual and physiological variables were recorded throughout. No significant improvement in time-trial performance was observed with caffeine (3918 ± 243s) compared with placebo mouth-rinse (3940 ± 227s). No elevation in plasma caffeine was detected due to the mouth-rinse conditions. Caffeine mouth-rinse had no significant effect on rating of perceived exertion, heart rate, rate of oxygen consumption or blood lactate concentration. Eight exposures of a 35 mg dose of caffeine at the buccal cavity for 10s does not significantly enhance endurance cycling time-trial performance, nor does it elevate plasma caffeine concentration.

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Thomas M. Doering, Peter R. Reaburn, Gregory Cox and David G. Jenkins

Postexercise nutrition is a critical component of an athlete’s recovery from training and competition. However, little is known about athletes’ postexercise dietary practices or knowledge of dietary recommendations, particularly among masters athletes. The purpose of this study was to compare and contrast the knowledge of postexercise nutritional recommendations, and typical postexercise intakes of carbohydrate and protein, between masters and younger triathletes. 182 triathletes (Male = 101, Female = 81) completed an online survey distributed by Triathlon Australia. Knowledge of postexercise nutrition recommendations for protein and carbohydrate intake were assessed as a group, and contrasted between subgroups of masters (≥50 years) and younger triathletes (≤30 years). Using dietary recall, postexercise intakes of carbohydrate and protein were examined and contrasted between masters and younger triathletes. As a group, 43.1% and 43.9% of all triathletes answered, “I don’t know” when asked to identify the recommended postexercise carbohydrate and protein intakes, respectively. Dietary analysis revealed masters triathletes consumed significantly less carbohydrate (0.7 ± 0.4 g.kg-1) postexercise than recommended (1.0 g.kg-1; p = .001), and in comparison with younger triathletes (1.1 ± 0.6 g.kg-1; p = .01). Postexercise protein intakes were similar between masters (19.6 ± 13.5 g) and younger (26.4 ± 15.8 g) triathletes. However, relative to body mass, masters triathletes consumed significantly less protein (0.3 ± 0.2 g.kg-1) than younger triathletes (0.4 ± 0.2 g.kg-1; p = .03), and consumed significantly less energy postexercise (22.7 ± 11.7 kJ.kg-1) than younger triathletes (37.8 ± 19.2 kJ.kg-1; p = .01). The present data suggests triathletes have poor knowledge of recommendations for postexercise carbohydrate and protein intakes. Furthermore, low postexercise intakes of carbohydrate and protein by masters athletes may impair acute recovery.

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Thomas M. Doering, Peter R. Reaburn, Nattai R. Borges, Gregory R. Cox and David G. Jenkins

Following exercise-induced muscle damage (EIMD), masters athletes take longer to recover than younger athletes. The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of higher than recommended postexercise protein feedings on the recovery of knee extensor peak isometric torque (PIT), perceptions of recovery, and cycling time trial (TT) performance following EIMD in masters triathletes. Eight masters triathletes (52 ± 2 y, V̇O2max, 51.8 ± 4.2 ml•kg-1•min-1) completed two trials separated by seven days in a randomized, doubleblind, crossover study. Trials consisted of morning PIT testing and a 30-min downhill run followed by an eight-hour recovery. During recovery, a moderate (MPI; 0.3 g•kg-1•bolus-1) or high (0.6 g•kg-1•bolus-1) protein intake (HPI) was consumed in three bolus feedings at two hour intervals commencing immediately postexercise. PIT testing and a 7 kJ•kg-1 cycling TT were completed postintervention. Perceptions of recovery were assessed pre- and postexercise. The HPI did not significantly improve recovery compared with MPI (p > .05). However, comparison of within-treatment change shows the HPI provided a moderate beneficial effect (d = 0.66), attenuating the loss of afternoon PIT (-3.6%, d = 0.09) compared with the MPI (-8.6%, d = 0.24). The HPI provided a large beneficial effect (d = 0.83), reducing perceived fatigue over the eight-hour recovery (d = 1.25) compared with the MPI (d = 0.22). Despite these effects, cycling performance was unchanged (HPI = 2395 ± 297 s vs. MPI = 2369 ± 278 s; d = 0.09). In conclusion, doubling the recommended postexercise protein intake did not significantly improve recovery in masters athletes; however, HPI provided moderate to large beneficial effects on recovery that may be meaningful following EIMD.