University of Tasmania

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Combined carbohydrate and protein ingestion during Australian Rules football matches and training sessions does not reduce fatigue or accelerate recovery throughout a week-long junior tournament

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-19, 03:49 authored by Lee, NA, James Fell, Nathan PitchfordNathan Pitchford, Hall, AH, Leveritt, MD, Kitic, CM
Australian Rules football (ARF) is a physically demanding sport that can induce high levels of fatigue. Fatigue may be intensified during periods where multiple matches are played with limited recovery time. Combined carbohydrate and protein (CHO+PRO) intake during physical activity may provide performance and recovery benefits. The aim of this study was to investigate whether CHO+PRO ingestion during ARF matches and training sessions throughout a tournament would enhance performance or recovery in comparison to CHO-only ingestion. ARF players (n = 21) competing in a 7-day National tournament participated in this randomized and double-blinded study. Beverages containing either CHO (n = 10) or CHO+PRO (n = 11) were provided during matches (Day-1, Day-4 and Day-7) and training sessions (Day-2 and Day-3). Countermovement jumps (CMJ), ratings of muscle soreness and autonomic function were assessed throughout the tournament. Gastrointestinal discomfort was measured post-matches. CMJ peak velocity increased in the CHO+PRO group (p = 0.01), but not for the CHO group. There were no differences in the other CMJ variables. In both groups, muscle soreness increased from Day-0 and Day-1 to Day-2 (p < 0.05) but did not remain elevated. R-R intervals (time elapsed between successive peaks in QRS complexes) increased in both groups from Day-1 to Day-7 (MD = 59.85 ms, p < 0.01). Post-match gastrointestinal discomfort was not different (p < >0.05) between groups. When daily dietary protein is adequate (> 1.8, the ingestion of CHO+PRO during matches and training sessions throughout a tournament does not reduce muscle soreness nor have clear benefits for neuromuscular recovery or modulate autonomic function in junior ARF athletes, compared to CHO alone.


Sports Dietitians Australia


Publication title

Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research








School of Health Sciences


Alliance Communications Group Division Allen Press

Place of publication

United States

Rights statement

Copyright 2017 National Strength and Conditioning Association

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Specific population health (excl. Indigenous health) not elsewhere classified

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