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Post-exercise consumption of carbohydrate combined with whey protein hydrolysate increases skeletal muscle glycogen recovery better than carbohydrate combined with whey protein, BCAAs or casein hydrolysate1. But can the same be said for endurance athletes when it comes to pre-exercise consumption of carbohydrate and whey protein hydrolysate?

Needs of Endurance vs Strength Athletes

Pre-workout supplements are all the buzz for strength and bodybuilding athletes, but it’s a different ball game when it comes to endurance athletes. ‘Muscle strength’ per se is not typically a limiting factor to performance in endurance exercise. Instead, performance in endurance exercise is related to the ability to sustain a given level of intensity for as long as possible. Aside from an athletes’ conditioning, the ability to sustain a given level of exercise intensity is primarily related to the athletes muscle glycogen levels. So anything that can bolster pre-exercise muscle glycogen levels is crucial for endurance athletes.

Whey Protein Hydrolysate and Carbs Superior to Carbs Alone For Endurance

For this reason, a group of researchers from Japan recently conducted a study to determine if carbohydrate combined with whey protein hydrolysate can attenuate or decrease the use of glycogen during subsequent endurance exercise. Anything that can decrease glycogen utilisation for a given level of exercise intensity will prolong the time an athlete can continue exercising at that intensity. Compared to water or glucose only, pre-exercise ingestion of glucose plus whey protein hydrolysate caused a significant attenuation of muscle glycogen depletion during the post-exercise period. More specifically, the researchers were able to show that pre-exercise ingestion of carbohydrate plus whey protein hydrolysate activated skeletal muscle proteins of key enzymes that regulate glucose uptake and glycogen synthesis during exercise, thereby attenuating exercise-induced glycogen depletion. So for the competitive endurance athlete, whey protein hydrolysate combined with carbohydrate pre- and post-exercise provides the best option for optimising muscle glycogen levels during training and competition.

1. Morifuji M, et al. Post-exercise carbohydrate plus whey protein hydrolysates supplementation increases skeletal muscle glycogen level in rats. Amino Acids. 2010;38(4):1109-1115.
2. Morifuji M, et al. Preexercise ingestion of carbohydrate plus whey protein hydrolysates attenuates skeletal muscle glycogen depletion during exercise in rats. Nutrition. 2011;27(7-8):833-837.

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