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How it Works (4:1)

In 1997, six of the country's top exercise physiologists convened with the goal of developing the next generation of sports drinks. Out of this symposium came Accelerade - the first sports drink to contain carbohydrates in combination with protein in a patented 4:1 ratio. That's a ratio that research has shown is ideal. Because while protein is key, the amount of protein is what's important. Too much, and it can't be processed by the body. Too little, and it won't work like it needs to.

Simply, the science behind the ratio is what takes you beyond rehydration straight to peak performance.

Recovery, the key to peak performance

If rehydration were the only factor to enhancing performance, a conventional sports drink would be enough. But athletes don't just need to rehydrate, their muscles need to recover, too. Protein speeds muscle recovery.

During prolonged exercise, the body breaks down muscle to meet energy needs. Research has shown that consuming a carbohydrate-protein sports drink during exercise can minimize muscle breakdown [8, 9], may aid in supporting muscle synthesis [8], and improve protein balance [8, 9]. In contrast, a conventional sport drink during exercise resulted in an increase in muscle breakdown and a decrease in synthesis which is definitely not optimal for athletes [8].

Why is this important? It is crucial for endurance athletes to maintain lean muscle mass during training and competition to maximize performance. Therefore, a carbohydrate-protein sports drink can aid in maintaining protein balance which helps to maintain muscle mass.

What athlete doesn't want to recover quicker? That's why the protein in Accelerade helps start the rebuilding process of muscles damaged during exercise.

The ability of any athlete to perform at their best is directly related to how fast their muscles recover after exercise. Protein-enhanced Accelerade gives muscles a jump-start on getting back to peak performance. In fact, Accelerade has been shown to significantly reduce muscle damage following exercise. Compared to a conventional sports drink, it minimizes muscle soreness.

In 2004 and 2006, researchers at James Madison University studied post-exercise muscle damage in cyclists who drank Accelerade or a conventional sports drink while riding a stationary bicycle to exhaustion by measuring lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) and/or creatine kinase (CK) levels, biomarkers of muscle damage [10, 11]. In both studies, athletes who drank Accelerade during exercise experienced a reduction in musclular damage (evidenced by lower LDH and/or CK plasma values) then when drinking the conventional drink. Athletes who drank Accelerade also reported a decrease in muscle soreness 24 hours after exercise [11].

Why drink Accelerade? Accelerade helps to speed up the recovery process by reducing muscle damage and also decreases soreness that can occur with endurance exercise. Accelerade is beneficial during and also after exercise to enable the athlete to perform at his/her best later on that same day or days following.

Why Accelerade is Better

Exercise Metabolism

Carbohydrates and fats are the primary fuels metabolized during endurance exercise. However, during prolonged exercise, protein can contribute 5-10% of total energy demands [1, 2] and this contribution can increase under conditions of low carbohydrate stores [3, 4]. Protein's contribution to total energy production during exercise is less than carbohydrates and fat, but don't rule out the impact protein can have during endurance training and performance.

The type of fuel that is used by the muscles for energy during endurance exercise is dependent on numerous factors such as exercise intensity, diet composition, duration, and training. For example, during low to moderate (<65% VO2 max) intensity, the muscles rely primarily on fat for energy [5]. As exercise intensity increases, there is a shift to an increased reliance on carbohydrates [5]. The use of protein by exercising muscle also increases as exercise intensity increases.

Macronutrient (carbohydrate, protein and fat) consumption throughout the day and during exercise has an impact on exercise performance. Every athlete wants to perform at his/her best. To do this, delaying the onset of fatigue during exercise is a must. Known causes of fatigue during endurance exercise are low carbohydrate stores and/or low blood sugar. Therefore, during prolonged endurance exercise (> 60 minutes), carbohydrate intake is necessary. A sports drink containing carbohydrates and electrolytes is recommended. The general guidelines for moderate intensity exercise are to consume a 6-8% carbohydrate containing sports drink at a rate of 30-60 grams of carbohydrates for every hour of exercise [6]. This would equal about 4-6 fl oz of a sports drink every 15-20 minutes. Depending on environmental temperature, body size, duration, and exercise level some athletes may need to consume additional carbohydrates or fluid [6]. Accelerade not only contains the recommended 6% carbohydrates and electrolytes but it also contains just the right amount of protein. The protein found in Accelerade contains the minimum amount so as to not interfere with digestion during exercise while providing an array of functional benefits. In addition to increasing endurance and minimizing the onset of fatigue, the added protein in Accelerade, when consumed during exercise, facilitates rehydration, minimizes the breakdown of muscle that occurs during endurance exercise, and speeds up the recovery process. All of which are beneficial to those looking to achieve their fitness and performance goals.

Beyond hydration

During exercise, an athlete's body needs fluids. Period. That's why replenishing fluids during exercise is crucial - especially in the heat. When the body loses fluids through sweating, body temperature elevates and exercise performance drops. This isn't a good thing.

The most important function of a sports drink is to rehydrate. But a drained body also needs to restore energy and electrolytes. That's why so many athletes choose carbohydrate and electrolyte-rich sports drinks instead of water. Sodium is the primary electrolyte lost in sweat followed by potassium. That's why both are included in sports drinks. These electrolytes can serve to enhance flavor and encourage athletes to drink more. They also promote fluid retention. The addition of carbohydrates can delay fatigue during prolonged exercise and improve performance.

But, carbohydrates and electrolytes aren't the only thing an athlete's body needs. Along comes Accelerade - the first sports drink to contain carbohydrates and protein in a patented 4:1 ratio.

A ratio? Yes, a ratio.

The inclusion of just the right amount of protein in Accelerade facilitates rehydration by optimizing the absorption of fluid. In 2006, researchers at St. Cloud University demonstrated that consuming Accelerade following cycling exercise significantly enhanced rehydration by 15% compared to a conventional sports drink and 40% compared to water.

How does this happen? Accelerade contains two macronutrients (protein and carbohydrates) and each macronutrient uses a separate transport system or 'door' to enter into the body's circulation from the intestine. As carbohydrates and protein enter, they bring sodium and water with them. So with the added protein, more entrance ways are available for sodium and water to enter into circulation; thus increasing rehydration [7].

Taking endurance farther

Accelerade has been shown to help athletes increase their endurance.

In 2004, sports scientists at James Madison University asked trained cyclists to ride stationary bicycles to exhaustion while drinking either Accelerade or a conventional sports drink. The athletes drinking Accelerade were able to ride 29 percent longer than those drinking the conventional sports drink.

At the University of Texas, when Accelerade was compared to a conventional sports drink, it extended endurance up to 36 percent and up to 55 percent compared to water.

  1. Brooks, G.A. and J. Mercier. J Appl Physiol, 1994. 76(6): p. 2253-61.
  2. Dohm, G.L. Exerc Sport Sci Rev, 1986. 14: p. 143-73.
  3. Lemon, P.W. and J.P. Mullin. J Appl Physiol, 1980. 48(4): p. 624-9.
  4. van Hall, G., et al.. J Physiol, 1996. 494 ( Pt 3): p. 899-905.
  5. Romijn, J.A., et al. Am J Physiol, 1993. 265(3 Pt 1): p. E380-91.
  6. Manore, M. and J. Thompson. Sport Nutrition for Health and Performance. 2000, Human Kinetics: Champaign. p. 21-61.
  7. Seifert, J., J. Harmon, and P. DeClercq. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab, 2006. 16(4): p. 420-9.
  8. Koopman, R., et al. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab, 2004. 287(4): p. E712-20.
  9. Miller, S.L., et al., Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab, 2007. In press.
  10. Saunders, M.J., M.D. Kane, and M.K. Todd. Med Sci Sports Exerc, 2004. 36(7): p. 1233-8.
  11. Romano-Ely, B.C., et al. Med Sci Sports Exerc, 2006. 38(9): p. 1608-16.

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