Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Exercise Science and Women

There was a NY Times blog posted today titled "Phys Ed: What Exercise Science Doesn't Know About Women." It refers to study done by Dr. David Rowlands, a senior lecturer with the Institute of Food, Nutrition and Human Health at Massey University in New Zealand whereby he attempted to replicate the results of certain studies traditionally done on male athletes on women athletes. The results of this new research were quite stunning. In short, his research showed that women did not benefit from protein after exercise the same way that men did... perhaps showing no benefit at all.

In the case of men, the benefits (improved power/endurance, lower fatigue, etc) of taking of a protein-carbohydrate drink after exercise seem to come after a day or two. Many studies have reconfirmed these results in men. Dr Rowlands showed this may not the case for women. Since this is the only study of its kind, it's unclear really how much post-workout protein women should take and what effect it will have and how quickly the results will manifest themselves... it's also unclear if this one study was just a fluke.

One thing is for certain: the scientific community needs to devote more time and energy into studying the effects of certain exercise and nutrition protocols on women... not just men. My hypothesis is that the new studies will show that men and women are more alike than they are different, but that when it comes to maximizing performance in trained athletes all bets are off... I await the results!

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