Carbohydrate-Protein drink is effective for restoring endurance capacity in masters class athletes after a two-Hour recovery

J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2023 Dec;20(1):2178858. doi: 10.1080/15502783.2023.2178858.


Background: Carbohydrate (CHO) and carbohydrate-protein co-ingestion (CHO-P) have been shown to be equally effective for enhancing glycogen resynthesis and subsequent same-day performance when CHO intake is suboptimal (≤0.8 g/kg). Few studies have specifically examined the effect of isocaloric CHO vs CHO-P consumption on subsequent high-intensity aerobic performance with limited time to recover (≤2 hours) in masters class endurance athletes.

Methods: This was a randomized, double-blind between-subject design. Twenty-two male masters class endurance athletes (age 49.1 ± 6.9 years; height 175.8 ± 4.8 cm; body mass 80.7 ± 8.6 kg; body fat (%) 19.1 ± 5.8; VO2peak 48.6 ± 6.7 ml·kg·min-1) were assigned to consume one of three beverages during a 2-hour recovery period: Placebo (PLA; electrolytes and water), CHO (1.2 g/kg bm), or CHO-P (0.8 g/kg bm CHO + 0.4 g/kg bm PRO). All beverages were standardized to one liter (~32 oz.) of total fluid volume regardless of the treatment group. During Visit #1, participants completed graded exercise testing on a cycle ergometer to determine VO2peak and peak power output (PPO, watts). Visit #2 consisted of familiarization with the high-intensity protocol including 5 × 4 min intervals at 70-80% of PPO with 2 min of active recovery at 50 W, followed by a time to exhaustion (TTE) test at 90% PPO. During Visit#3, the same high-intensity interval protocol with TTE was conducted pre-and post-beverage consumption.

Results: A one-way ANCOVA indicated a significant difference among the group means for the posttest TTE (F2,18 = 6.702, p = .007, ƞ2 = .427) values after adjusting for the pretest differences. TTE performance in the second exercise bout improved for the CHO (295.48 ± 24.90) and CHO-P (255.08 ± 25.07 sec) groups. The water and electrolyte solution was not effective in restoring TTE performance in the PLA group (171.13 ± 23.71 sec).

Conclusions: Both CHO and CHO-P effectively promoted an increase in TTE performance with limited time to recover in this sample of masters class endurance athletes. Water and electrolytes alone were not effective for restoring endurance capacity during the second bout of exhaustive exercise.

Keywords: Protein; carbohydrate; fatigue; glycogen; post-exercise; recovery.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Athletes
  • Dietary Carbohydrates*
  • Exercise
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Physical Endurance*
  • Polyesters / pharmacology


  • Dietary Carbohydrates
  • Polyesters

Grants and funding

The author(s) reported there is no funding associated with the work featured in this article.