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J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2013 Jun 12;10:31. doi: 10.1186/1550-2783-10-31. eCollection 2013.

The differential effects of a complex protein drink versus isocaloric carbohydrate drink on performance indices following high-intensity resistance training: a two arm crossover design.

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Trident University, 5757 Plaza Drive #100, Cypress, CA, USA.



Post-workout nutrient timing and macronutrient selection are essential for recovery, glycogen replenishment and muscle protein synthesis (MPS). Performance repeatability, particularly after strenuous activity, can be influenced by substrate availability, recovery markers and perceived rate of exertion. This study compared the differential effects of a complex protein ready-to-drink beverage (VPX) and isocaloric carbohydrate beverage (iCHO) on performance-agility T-test, push-up test, 40-yard sprint, and rate of perceived exertion (RPE), following high-intensity resistance training (HIRT).


In a randomized, double blind two-arm crossover controlled trial, 15 subjects performed a 15-18 minute (2:1 work to rest) HIRT and then immediately drank one of the two treatments. After a 2-hour fast, subjects returned to execute the field tests and report RPE. The protocol was repeated one week later with the other treatment.


There were no significant main effect differences in the agility T-test (p = 0.83), push-up (p = 0.21) sprint (p = 0.12), average agility RPE (p = 0.83), average push-up RPE (p = 0.81) or average sprint RPE (p = 0.66) between the two trials and the two treatments. The multivariate analysis yielded a cumulative significant interaction effect amongst the three performance variables after consuming VPX (p < 0.01). These results suggest a complex protein beverage is a better post-workout choice compared to an isocaloric carbohydrate beverage for repeated performance for activities that require multiple energy demands and athletic skills; however, this outcome was not observed for each single performance event or RPE.


When considering the collective physical effects of the agility T-test, push-up and sprint tests, a complex protein beverage may provide a recovery advantage as it relates to repeated-bout performance compared to an iCHO-only beverage. Additional research examining the chronic effects of post-exercise protein versus iCHO beverages on performance repeatability, particularly in special populations (e.g. tactical and elite athletes), is warranted to further develop these findings.


Isocaloric carbohydrate; Nutrient timing; Performance; Protein drink/beverage; Repeated-bout

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