Evaluation of Training, Fueling, and Whey Protein Supplementation in Army Initial Entry Training
Type of DegreePhD Dissertation
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Background: Nutrient intake needs to provide the energy required to support recovery from training, improve performance, and promote health. To date, research on energy expenditure and dietary intake in recruits that participate in Army Initial Entry Training (IET) is sparse. Training in an energy-resticted state may predispose the soldier to musculoskeletal injuries, considered to be the primary medical problem for today’s military. Whey protein is a nutritional supplement reported to improve recovery, overall health, body composition, athletic performance and to stimulate bone formation. Specific Aims: 1) Establish the energy and physical training load associated with 14 weeks of IET; 2) Evaluate dietary intake at two times points across 9 weeks of IET; 3) Evaluate the effects of supplement intake on performance, body composition, and musculoskeletal injury. Methods: A double blinded, placebo-controlled intervention study with two IET training companies. The first cohort consumed two servings and the second cohort consumed one serving per day of either whey protein (38.6g protein 19g carbohydrates, and 7.5g fat), or calorie-matched carbohydrate shakes (0.5g protein 63.4g carbohydrates, and 3.9g of fat) across 9 weeks of IET. Outcome measures: Dependent variables were training volume, energy usage, dietary intake, body composition and serum biomarkers. Fitness level was assessed using the Army Physical Fitness Assessment, and musculoskeletal injury data was collected. Most IET soldiers were in a negative net energy balance and thus may not have optimal adaptation when non-supplemented. Overall WP seemed to have a clinically relevant effect on fat free mass, fat mass, and push-up performance.