Where Is the Protein in My Recovery Drink?

2 min read

male cyclist

BCAAs were shown to reduce muscle damage during cycling, as reported in the International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism (December 2007).

Dr. Greer and his team of researchers examined the effect of a branched chain amino acid (BCAA) drink on markers of muscle damage after endurance exercise. A BCAA drink was compared with an equal calorie carbohydrate drink and a flavored water placebo.

The group found all measured markers of fatigue were reduced in the BCAA-supplemented group. So if you want to ride your best, it seems including BCAAs in your hydration formula could help.

The Study

Nine untrained men performed three 90-minute cycling trials. The men were blinded to drink selection during each trial. Cyclists received a carbohydrate drink on the first trial; a BCAA drink on the second trial; and flavored water on the third trial. Bouts were separated by eight weeks with no training in-between, to omit training effects from trial to trial.

During each trial the subjects ingested 200 calories of their drink before exercise and at 60 minutes of the 90-minute cycling trial. Subjects were assessed before and immediately after, as well as 4, 24 and 48 hours post-exercise.

The data showed significantly reduced markers of muscle damage in the BCAA trial, with the carbohydrate trial showing reduced markers when compared with the flavored water. Measurements included blood markers of fatigue, leg-flexion tests, and ratings of perceived exertion.

The Bottom Line

Proteins are made up of amino acids. BCAAs are a subgroup of these amino acids which have been found to be particularly useful for athletic performance. Although this study indicates that BCAAs are superior to carbohydrate formulas for reducing markers of muscular fatigue, this does not mean you should replace your carbohydrate drink during your ride. In fact, you can get carbs and BCAAs plus more in TriFuel.

Reduced muscle damage has the advantage of speeding recovery and reducing muscle soreness, but not addressing your glycogen stores while training could have a negative impact on performance. Combine both for greater muscle recovery while maintaining energy stores.

What to Do

If you’re training regularly it would be wise to invest in a carbohydrate-BCAA combo drink such as TriFuel. TriFuel contains a full 6 grams of BCAAs per serving; more than any other product available on the market. 

Take the next step in your training regimen: Try any BRL Sports supplement risk-free! If our natural nutritional products aren’t the best you’ve ever used, simply return your purchase for a 100% refund — no questions asked!

Also in Inspiration & Perspiration

Joe Barr
3 Ways to Go From Empty to Fully Charged

3 min read

Team nutritionist Jillian Mooney reveals how Ultra Cyclist World Champion Joe Barr recovers after a hectic competition schedule.
Read More
male swimmer competing in triathlon
Training For Your First Triathlon

2 min read

All serious endurance athletes aspire to complete in an ironman race. Sticking to goals and a manageable training schedule will help get you to the finish line.
Read More
game day party
Healthy Hacks For Super Bowl Snacks

2 min read

Who doesn't love a great Super Bowl spread? But if you want to you avoid a Monday morning food and alcohol hangover, up your game with these healthier options.
Read More

Get the Inside Scoop