Thursday, July 11, 2013

Post CHO or PRO Supps for Workout Regeneration? VPX' Protein Rush or Plain Gatorade? I'd Love Sponsored Supp Research, If it Ever Produced Really Meaningful Results

It goes without saying - for a true gymrat and physical culturist, there can be only one ideal post-workout regeneration beverage... but it looks as if it was not among the contestants.
No, I am not going to tell you another time about my mixed feelings wrt to the VPX sponsored studies. I mean, let's face it - at least they do conduct research on their products and with the study at hand even helped a PhD student to complete her thesis.

For the latter, Shannan Lynch recruited 15 male subjects (31.7 ± 6.2 yrs old) who had been exercising at least five times per week for at least an hour for a year or more, and have at least one year of strength training experience. He grabbed a couple of packs of VPX Protein Rush (I suppose he rather got them via mail ;-) and bought a ton of Gatorade Orange to serve as a control in what was supposed to be an investigation into the relative effects on fitness performance indices (agility T-test, push-up test, and 40-yard sprint) of the said supplements after exhaustive exercise.
Totally unrelated, shameless plug: In view of the fact that it's Thursday and this means that there are only 2h until the live show of this week's installment of the SuppVersity Science Round-Up with a focus on cellulite is going to air, I dare putting an advertisement for my own appearance on Carl Lanore's Super Human Radio up here ;-) So in case, you are by any means interested in what cellulite is, how it develops, why it develops and whether there is a proven way to treat it - maybe the one that did what you see on the image to the right - I would highly suggest you tune in live @12PM (EST). In the unfortunate case you can't make it in time. You can still download and listen to the podcast that's going to come with tomorrow's "Seconds".
The exhaustive exercise protocol we are talking about, here, consisted of a standardized warm-up and a high-intensity resistance training workout for 2 min. In those 2 min, the participans had do perform as many rounds of
Table 1: Nutrient composition of the beverages
  • dumbbell push-presses
  • squats (dumbbells at sides)
  • dumbbell push-ups
  • and repeat until the 2 min are over
for 8 reps each (weight was 25% of 1RM). After 5-6 rounds (1min rest in between) the scientist added all reps up and compared them to the follow up trial with the other supplement (note: as you would expect no difference was observed). After the HIRT (high intensity resistance training) protocol, the subjects consumed their recovery drinks, waited for 2h, executed a couple of performance tests and filled a hand full of questionnaires.
Figure 1: Mean values on the paired samples t-test (VPX-Gatorade) for the performance tests and rate of perceived exertion; note: note of the values achieved stat. sign. (Lynch. 2013)
The results of these tests and questionnaires (see figure 1) clearly indicate ... well, what to they indicate? If anything I should say that it looks as if Gatorade clearly prevailed. But didn't the abstract say:
"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." (Lynch. 2013)
Well, I guess the author would better have printed the word "MAY" bolder than bold. After all even Lynch has to concede that
  • according to the paired sample t-tests (data in figure 1) "the results indicate no significant mean differences between VPX and iCHO [Gatorade]" (Lynch. 2013) for the rate of perceived exertion and
  • none of the statistical inter-group tests yielded "singular, main effects for any of the performance or RPE tests such that the mean measurement was not significantly different for VPX than for iCHO"
So we would in fact have gotten a null result if that was all the statistical shenanigan we had. Luckily the statistical "crockpod analysis", i.e. a repeated-measures multivariate analysis (RM-MANOVA) "yielded a significant interaction effect for the three performance variables" on an inter-individual level (p = 0.002; observed power = 0.97).

You don't think this is convincing? Me neither, the main reason I would still advice not to stick to carbs alone after a workout is simple: Most of you are probably not interested in their performance 2h after the workout, but rather in the long-term effects on their body composition, strength & workout capacity and for all of of those bulk whey protein would be a preferable (and much cheaper source) than any of the supplements used in the study.

If you still insist to spike that protein shake of yours up a bit, here are a couple of suggestions that come to mind...
  • Suggested read: "Up To 180% Increase in Testosterone With Taurine? And the Androgen Boost is Just One of the desirable Side Effects of the Cysteine Derivative That Won't Benefit (Pre-)Diabetic Baby-Boomers, Only" | read more...
    creatine - something like 5g/day; think about boosting the absorption with baking soda,
  • taurine - maybe another 3-6g, but better only 2g per serving,
  • glycerol - 20-80g to rehydrate or in hope of the ergogenic effects from the Petlar study (learn more), 
  • beta alanine - 1.6g/day; take it cyclically, i.e. 6 weeks on 2x800mg to saturate the carnosine levels, at least 4 weeks off to avoid burning money - fuller than full is not possible
  • glutamine - 10g+ to feed and "seal the gut", help replenish liver glycogen and decrease the catabolism of other aminos (learn more)
  • bananas - 1-3 depending on whether you are cutting or bulking and what your current macro intake looks like (click here, to rid yourself of fruit-o- & banan-o-phobia ;-) 
 ... and the rest of the stuff you can read about here at the SuppVersity on a daily basis. I mean, if was your homepage, you should be able to add at least another six supps & foods by the means of which you could complete the dirty post-workout dozen.

  • Lynch S. 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. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2013 Jun 12;10(1):31.