|It may be important that the subjects cycled, because a recent review of the potential interference of cardio w/ strength training shows that cycling is the least likely to affect your gains (Murach. 2016).|
Now, a recent study from the Mid Sweden University shows that the opposite could be the case, i.e. that the hypertrophy response to exercise can actually be stimulated by combining resistance training not just with "cardio", but with "cardio" (=continuous cycling) and HIIT - at least if it's done not after, but before resistance training.
The authors of the study, Zuzanna Kazior, Sarah J. Willis, Marcus Moberg, William Apró, José A. L. Calbet, Hans-Christer Holmberg, andn Eva Blomstrand were (just like you?) unhappy with the contradictory outcomes of existing studies on the effect of endurance exercise on the anabolic response to strength training. Accordingly, they designed a study to "re-investigated this issue, focusing on training effects on indicators of protein synthesis and degradation" (Kazior. 2016).
|Figure 1: Overview of the resistance (top) and cardio training (bottom) protocols in the study at hand (Kazior. 2016).|
Did carbohydrates make the difference? Within 20 min after completion of a training session, subjects in the R-group received a protein supplement (Kolozzeum Pure Whey, Stockholm, Sweden), 20 g dissolved in 500 ml of water to enhance muscle recovery. The ER-group were given this same supplement, but with addition of maltodextrin (Fairing Fast Carbs, Järfälla, Sweden) in an amount corresponding to the individual´s calculated energy expenditure during the endurance training - did the maltodextrin make a difference? Based on the results of previous studies, this seems very unlikely. While carbs alone can enhance the protein synthetic response to resistance training (Børsheim. 2004), studies show no benefit of adding it to a sufficient amount of protein that is consumed right after resistance training workouts (Koopmann. 2007).Biopsies were taken from the lateral part of m. quadriceps, i.e., the vastus lateralis, both before and after 7 weeks of training. To ensure the results were not messed up, ...
"[t]he subjects were instructed to refrain from training for 2 days prior to the pre-training biopsies and the post-training biopsies were taken approximately 2 to 3 days after the final session in 15 subjects, but in one subject the post-training biopsy was taken 90 hours after the final session. During this period the subjects also refrained from training" (Kazior. 2016).All data are expressed as means ± SD and were checked for normal distribution before performing parametric statistical analyses. A two-way repeated measures ANOVA (time, group) was applied to evaluate and compare the effect of training in the R and ER groups. When the ANOVA showed a significant main effect or interaction between time and group, Fisher’s LSD post hoc test was applied to identify where the differences occurred. A P-value <0.05 was considered to be statistically significant.
|Figure 3: Pre- vs. post changes in fiber are and capillary density in both groups (Kazior. 2016).|
"[the t]raining-induced alterations in the levels of both Akt and mTOR [both anabolic] protein were correlated to changes in type I fiber area (r = 0.55–0.61, P<0.05), as well as mean fiber area (r = 0.55–0.61, P<0.05), reflecting the important role played by these proteins in connection with muscle hypertrophy. Both training regimes reduced the level of MAFbx protein (P<0.05) and tended to elevate that of MuRF-1 [both catabolic]" (Kazior. 2016).In view of these findings, it is only logical that the authors conclude that "the present findings indicate that the larger hypertrophy observed in the ER group is due more to pronounced stimulation of anabolic rather than inhibition of catabolic processes" (Kazio. 2016) - irrespective of the fact that they cannot tell for sure what it was that triggered these practically relevant differences.
- Børsheim, Elisabet, et al. "Effect of carbohydrate intake on net muscle protein synthesis during recovery from resistance exercise." Journal of Applied Physiology 96.2 (2004): 674-678.
- Kazior Z, Willis SJ, Moberg M, Apró W, Calbet JAL, Holmberg H-C, et al. "Endurance Exercise Enhances the Effect of Strength Training on Muscle Fiber Size and Protein Expression of Akt and mTOR." PLoS ONE 11.2 (2016) : e0149082. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0149082
- Koopman, René, et al. "Coingestion of carbohydrate with protein does not further augment postexercise muscle protein synthesis." American Journal of Physiology-Endocrinology and Metabolism 293.3 (2007): E833-E842.
- Murach, Kevin A., and James R. Bagley. "Skeletal Muscle Hypertrophy with Concurrent Exercise Training: Contrary Evidence for an Interference Effect." Sports Medicine (2016): 1-11.
- Rosa C, Vilaça-Alves J, Fernandes HM, Saavedra FJ, Pinto RS, Machado Dos Reis V. "Order effects of combined strength and endurance training on testosterone, cortisol, growth hormone and IGFBP-3 in concurrent-trained men". J Strength Cond Res. (2014): Jul 15 Ahead of Print.
- West, Daniel WD, and Stuart M. Phillips. "Associations of exercise-induced hormone profiles and gains in strength and hypertrophy in a large cohort after weight training." European journal of applied physiology 112.7 (2012): 2693-2702.