Eating regular foods and taking sports supplements have the same effectiveness in muscle recovery. This finding was made by researchers at the University of Montana and published in the journal European Journal of Applied Physiology. In fact back in 2015, researchers from UM’s Montana Center for Work Physiology and Exercise Metabolism showed that a McDonald’s Happy Meal is just as effective for exercise recovery as commercial nutrition products.
Most Past Studies Involved Male Athletes
While past studies examined mostly men in exercise recovery, this study, funded by the Alliance for Potato Research & Education, included and focused on women recreational athletes.
“There’s been a great deal of research into what sets the stage for muscle recovery after exercise,” said Brent Ruby, one of the researchers.
“But women have been poorly represented in these studies. It is common to only study men and then make broad recommendations, which is wrong,” he said.
Including Female Athletes
This study looked at muscle recovery between male and female recreational athletes using potato products and sports supplements. The study involved 16 individuals (eight men and eight women). The participants performed 90 minutes of intense cycling followed by rest, recovery and refueling and a 20-kilometer time trial. Their blood was drawn and muscles were biopsied.
No Difference Between Males and Females, Regular Foods and Supplements
The results showed that there were no difference in how muscles replenished carbohydrate stores between men and women. Also, there was no difference in how the muscles replenished carbohydrate stores when eating regular foods or taking sports supplements. In summary, muscle recovery was similar in men and women, and regular foods had the same effectiveness for muscle recovery as supports supplements.
A Diverse Diet May Be All You Need
“Endurance athletes love to talk about how hard they train and how special their diet is,” Ruby said.
“But we need to take a deep breath. It doesn’t have to be complicated. As long as you are getting adequate carbohydrates, your diet can be as diverse as you want it to be,” he said.
With the information from this study, athletes, both male and females, can make better informed decisions on their regimen to refuel after exercise and sports performance. If you’re an athlete, you might not need that expensive sports nutrition product after all for exercise recovery and refuel.