The aim of this study was to compare the potential additional effect of chia flour, whey protein, and a placebo juice to resistance training on fat-free mass (FFM) and strength gains in untrained young men. Eighteen healthy, untrained young men underwent an 8-week whole-body resistance training program, comprising three sessions per week. Subjects were randomized into three groups that after each training session consumed: (1) 30 g whey protein concentrate containing 23 g protein (WG), (2) 50 g chia flour containing 20 g protein (CG), or (3) a placebo not containing protein (PG). Strength tests (lower- and upper-limb one repetition maximum (1 RM) tests) and body composition analyses (dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry; DXA) were performed before (PRE) and after (POST) the intervention. Resistance training increased FFM and the 1 RM for each of the strength tests similarly in the three groups. FFM increased by 2.3% in WG (p = 0.04), by 3.6% in CG (p = 0.004), and by 3.0% in PG (p = 0.002)., and 1 RM increased in the different strength tests in the three groups (p < 0.05) with no difference between PG, CG, and WG. In conclusion, neither chia flour nor whey protein supplementation elicited an enhanced effect on FFM and strength gains after an 8-week resistance training program in healthy, untrained young men consuming a habitual high protein mixed diet (>1.2 g/kg/day).
Keywords: fat-free mass; omega-3; plant-based protein; resistance training.