Chocolate milk may optimize recovery for endurance athletes as they seek out carbohydrate-protein supplementation. From the Journal of Strength and Conditioning.
To optimize recovery for endurance athletes performing multiple bouts of prolonged activity, post-exercise supplementation should aim to restore muscle glycogen and attenuate muscle damage. Post-exercise carbohydrate-protein (CHO+PRO) supplementation has shown to alter the phosphorylation of signaling protein related to PRO synthesis, but the effects when compared to CHO only in an endurance exercise model have not been well characterized.
A recent study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research sought to compare the effects of a CHO+PRO supplement (low-fat chocolate milk), an isocaloric CHO, and a placebo (PLA) on recovery and subsequent endurance exercise performance. The study’s design was a randomized, double-blind, PLA-controlled, crossover with 10 healthy, trained cyclists and triathletes (N = 10; 5 men, 5 women).
Each participant completed an exercise protocol with multiple blood samples drawn to monitor indicators of muscle damage and inflammation, and muscle biopsies were performed to assess muscle glycogen resynthesis. Immediately post-exercise, three experimental beverages (low-fat chocolate milk, CHO-only, or PLA) were provided, with each participant acting as their own control for each treatment.
The study found that the trial time was faster in CHO+PRO than in CHO and PLA (79.43 ± 2.11 vs. 85.74 ± 3.44 and 86.92 ± 3.28 min, p ≤ 0.05) and muscle glycogen resynthesis was higher in CHO+PRO and CHO than in PLA (23.58 and 30.58 vs. 7.05 µmol-g-1 wet weight, p ≤ 0.05).
Thus, this study suggests that chocolate milk (CHO+PRO) can improve subsequent exercise performance, and can provide a greater signaling stimulus for PRO synthesis as compared to CHO-only supplements.
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Post-exercise carbohydrate-protein supplementation improves subsequent exercise performance and intracellular signaling for protein synthesis.