The effect of different post-exercise beverages with food on ad libitum fluid recovery, nutrient provision, and subsequent athletic performance

Danielle McCartney*, Christopher Irwin, Gregory R. Cox, Ben Desbrow

*Corresponding author for this work

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2 Citations (Scopus)
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This study investigated the effect of consuming either water or a carbohydrate (CHO)-electrolyte sports beverage (‘Sports Drink’) ad libitum with food during a 4 h post-exercise recovery period on fluid restoration, nutrient provision and subsequent endurance cycling performance. On two occasions, 16 endurance-trained cyclists; 8 male [M] (age: 31 ± 9 y; VO 2max : 54 ± 6 mL·kg −1 ·min −1 ) and 8 female [F] (age: 33 ± 8 y; VO 2max : 50 ± 7 mL·kg −1 ·min −1 ); lost 2.3 ± 0.3% and 1.6 ± 0.3% of their body mass (BM), respectively during 1 h of fixed-intensity cycling. Participants then had ad libitum access to either Water or Sports Drink and food for the first 195 min of a 4 h recovery period. At the conclusion of the recovery period, participants completed a cycling performance test consisting of a 45 min fixed-intensity pre-load and an incremental test to volitional exhaustion (peak power output, PPO). Beverage intake; total water/nutrient intake; and indicators of fluid recovery (BM, urine output, plasma osmolality [P OSM ]) were assessed periodically throughout trials. Participants returned to a similar state of net positive fluid balance prior to recommencing exercise, regardless of the beverage provided (Water: +0.4 ± 0.5 L; Sports Drink: +0.3 ± 0.3 L, p = 0.529). While Sports Drink increased post-exercise energy (M: +1.8 ± 1.0 MJ; F: +1.3 ± 0.5 MJ) and CHO (M: +114 ± 31 g; F: +84 ± 25 g) intake (i.e. total from food and beverage) (p's < 0.001), this did not improve subsequent endurance cycling performance (Water: 337 ± 40 W [M] and 252 ± 50 W [F]; Sports Drink: 340 ± 40 W [M] and 258 ± 47 W [F], p = 0.242). Recovery beverage recommendations should consider the post-exercise environment (i.e. the availability of food), an individual's tolerance for food and fluid pre−/post-exercise, the immediate requirements for refuelling (i.e. CHO demands of the activity) and the athlete's overall dietary goals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)22-30
Number of pages9
JournalPhysiology and Behavior
Early online date13 Dec 2018
Publication statusPublished - 15 Mar 2019


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