Protein Supplementation Does Not Augment Adaptations to Endurance Exercise Training

Kristin L. Jonvik, Kevin J. M. Paulussen, Shiannah L. Danen, Ingrid J. M. Ceelen, Astrid M. Horstman, Floris C. Wardenaar, Luc J. C. Van Loon, Jan-Willem Van Dijk*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

9 Citations (Web of Science)


Introduction Recently, it has been speculated that protein supplementation may further augment the adaptations to chronic endurance exercise training. We assessed the effect of protein supplementation during chronic endurance exercise training on whole-body oxidative capacity (VO2max) and endurance exercise performance. Methods In this double-blind, randomized, parallel placebo-controlled trial, 60 recreationally active males (age, 27 +/- 6 yr; body mass index, 23.8 +/- 2.6 kg center dot m(-2); VO2max, 47 +/- 6 mL center dot min(-1)center dot kg(-1)) were subjected to 12 wk of triweekly endurance exercise training. After each session and each night before sleep, participants ingested either a protein supplement (PRO; 28.7 g casein protein) or an isoenergetic carbohydrate placebo (PLA). Before and after the 12 wk of training, VO2max and endurance exercise performance (similar to 10-km time trial) were assessed on a cycle ergometer. Muscular endurance (total workload achieved during 30 reciprocal isokinetic contractions) was assessed by isokinetic dynamometry and body composition by dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry. Mixed-model ANOVA was applied to assess whether training adaptations differed between groups. Results Endurance exercise training induced an 11% +/- 6% increase in VO2max (time effect, P <0.0001), with no differences between groups (PRO, 48 +/- 6 to 53 +/- 7 mL center dot min(-1)center dot kg(-1); PLA, 46 +/- 5 to 51 +/- 6 mL center dot min(-1)center dot kg(-1); time-treatment interaction, P = 0.50). Time to complete the time trial was reduced by 14% +/- 7% (time effect, P <0.0001), with no differences between groups (time-treatment interaction, P = 0.15). Muscular endurance increased by 6% +/- 7% (time effect, P <0.0001), with no differences between groups (time-treatment interaction, P = 0.84). Leg lean mass showed an increase after training (P <0.0001), which tended to be greater in PRO compared with PLA (0.5 +/- 0.7 vs 0.2 +/- 0.6 kg, respectively; time-treatment interaction, P = 0.073). Conclusion Protein supplementation after exercise and before sleep does not further augment the gains in whole-body oxidative capacity and endurance exercise performance after chronic endurance exercise training in recreationally active, healthy young males.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2041-2049
Number of pages9
JournalMedicine and Science in Sports and Exercise
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2019


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