Fortified to Thrive

Endurance Boosters

Jul 1, 2003
Outside Magazine

THE CLAIM: "Protein stimulates the release of insulin, which speeds up the process by which muscle enzymes convert sugar into glycogen," says Robert Portman of PacificHealth Labs, makers of Accelerade sports drinks. With sufficient glycogen stores, distance athletes can go longer and stronger, and recover more efficiently from tough training and racing.
THE TRUTH: "A major factor of muscle fatigue is low glycogen levels," says triathlete icon turned fitness consultant and coach Dave Scott. "But protein, in combination with carbohydrates, pushes glucose into the bloodstream faster. The result is more efficiency, because your glucose levels stabilize and you conserve your glycogen levels." Soy protein has an added benefit: general wellness. Soy's packed with phytochemical substances called isoflavones that have been shown to enable better blood flow, reduce the risk of heart disease, and help stave off osteoporosis.

For peak performance, "keep your intake to 0.5 to 0.8 grams of protein per pound of body weight daily," says John Ivy, chairman of the kinesiology and health education department at the University of Texas. To stay in that zone, stick with carbohydrate bars and drinks that pack small amounts of protein for their glycogen-producing powers.

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