European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 97, Issue 2, pp 225–238 | Cite as

Independent and combined effects of liquid carbohydrate/essential amino acid ingestion on hormonal and muscular adaptations following resistance training in untrained men

  • Stephen P. BirdEmail author
  • Kyle M. Tarpenning
  • Frank E. Marino
Original Article


This investigation examined chronic alteration of the acute hormonal response associated with liquid carbohydrate (CHO) and/or essential amino acid (EAA) ingestion on hormonal and muscular adaptations following resistance training. Thirty-two untrained young men performed 12 weeks of resistance training twice a week, consuming ~675 ml of either, a 6% CHO solution, 6 g EAA mixture, combined CHO + EAA supplement or placebo (PLA). Blood samples were obtained pre- and post-exercise (week 0, 4, 8, and 12), for determination of glucose, insulin, and cortisol. 3-Methylhistidine excretion and muscle fibre cross-sectional area (fCSA) were determined pre- and post-training. Post-exercise cortisol increased (P<0.05) during each training phase for PLA. No change was displayed by EAA; CHO and CHO + EAA demonstrated post-exercise decreases (P<0.05). All groups displayed reduced pre-exercise cortisol at week 12 compared to week 0 (P<0.05). Post-exercise insulin concentrations showed no change for PLA; increases were observed for the treatment groups (P<0.05), which remained greater for CHO and CHO + EAA (P<0.001) than PLA. EAA and CHO ingestion attenuated 3-methylhistidine excretion 48 h following the exercise bout. CHO + EAA resulted in a 26% decrease (P<0.01), while PLA displayed a 52% increase (P<0.01). fCSA increased across groups for type I, IIa, and IIb fibres (P<0.05), with CHO + EAA displaying the greatest gains in fCSA relative to PLA (P<0.05). These data indicate that CHO + EAA ingestion enhances muscle anabolism following resistance training to a greater extent than either CHO or EAA consumed independently. The synergistic effect of CHO + EAA ingestion maximises the anabolic response presumably by attenuating the post-exercise rise in protein degradation.


Resistance training Supplementation Cortisol Insulin Hypertrophy 



The authors would like to thank the dedicated group of subjects. We also thank Brian Heffernan and Matthew O’Neal at the Central West Pathology Service, Bathurst Base Hospital, NSW, Australia, and Dr. Gary Ma, Trudi Jones and Vicki Pitsiavas at the Institute of Clinical Pathology and Medical Research, Laboratory of Endocrinology, Westmead Hospital, NSW, Australia, for technical assistance with the immunoassay procedures. We would like to thank Jason Poposki for HPLC technical assistance and Catherine Offner for nutritional support and dietary analysis. This research was supported in part by MUSASHI and the Gatorade Sports Science Institute. In memory of the late Dr. Kyle Tarpenning.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stephen P. Bird
    • 1
    Email author
  • Kyle M. Tarpenning
    • 1
  • Frank E. Marino
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Human Movement StudiesCharles Sturt UniversityBathurstAustralia

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