Taking protein supplements during training improves the intensity of exercise for women, but not among men, new research has found.
The new study, presented this week at The Physiological Society's annual conference, Physiology 2021, found different effects of taking protein hydrolysates during carbohydrate-restricted training in both sexes.
Although the supplement helped women increase the intensity of their training regime, it had a modest negative effect in men but made exercise feel harder for them because their bodies were working harder to break down the supplement, as compared to when they were drinking only water.
The study's first author, Tanja Oosthuyse of South Africa's University of the Witwatersrand, and her team concluded that while women should ingest protein supplements during carbohydrate-restricted exercise, men should be aware that it will only increase their perception of effort rather than have a positive effect on their abilities.
Oosthuyse said that the study showed that more research is needed into whether different training and diet methods have different effects on men and women.
"The application of the findings from our study are purely for the specialised training tactic of overnight fasted carbohydrate-restricted exercise that aims to enhance training," she said.
"Racing nutrition, however, is very different and at the moment guidelines are standard for both men and women. We need to specify potential differences so that both men and women can train and race at the highest possible calibre."
The researchers now hope to conduct further studies into the effects of supplements and training during women's menstrual phase.