A while back I was asked the question whether drinks like Cytosport or Accelerade with protein added are of any benefit. The verdict: NO. As athletes, protein helps us recover quicker by rebuilding and repairing muscle. We also need more protein because of urine losses, some protein used as energy (especially in endurance sports), and increased muscle mass. BUT, we do not need it before or during exercise. Protein has a longer gastric emptying rate so it can increase GI complaints during exercise. The protein may actually take the place of what we need the most DURING exercise: fluid, carbohydrates, and electrolytes. There is no evidence that additional protein in a sports beverages aids in performance or recovery. Therefore, eat some protein after working out, as little as 6g (the amount in one egg, a sports bar, or 1.5 Tbsp peanut butter) within 45 minutes of working out (preferably within 15 minutes) and stick to water or a sports drink during exercise.
1. Benardot, D. Advanced Sports Nutrition. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics, 2006.
2. Clark, N. Nancy Clark’s Sports Nutrition Guidebook 3rd Edition. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics, 2003.