Background: Performing regular exercise is known to manifest a number of health benefits that mainly relate to cardiovascular and muscular adaptations to allow for greater oxygen extraction and utilization. There is increasing evidence that nutrient intake can affect the adaptive response to a single exercise bout, and that protein feeding is important to facilitate this process. Thus, the exercise-nutrient interaction may potentially lead to a greater response to training. The role of post-exercise protein ingestion in enhancing the effects of running-based endurance exercise training relative to energy-matched carbohydrate intervention remains to be established. Additionally, the influence of immediate versus overnight protein ingestion in mediating these training effects is currently unknown. The current protocol aims to establish whether post-exercise nutrient intake and timing would influence the magnitude of improvements during a prescribed endurance training program. Methods/Design: The project involves two phases with each involving two treatment arms applied in a randomized investigator-participant double-blind parallel group design. For each treatment, participants will be required to undergo six weeks of running-based endurance training. Immediately post-exercise, participants will be prescribed solutions providing 0.4 grams per kilogram of body mass (g · kg<sup>-1</sup>) of whey protein hydrolysate plus 0.4g · kg<sup>-1</sup> sucrose, relative to an isocaloric sucrose control (0.8g · kg<sup>-1</sup>; Phase I). In Phase II, identical protein supplements will be provided (0.4 + 0.4g · kg<sup>-1</sup> · h<sup>-1</sup> of whey protein hydrolysate and sucrose, respectively), with the timing of ingestion manipulated to compare immediate versus overnight recovery feedings. Anthropometric, expired gas, venous blood and muscle biopsy samples will be obtained at baseline and following the six-week training period. Discussion: By investigating the role of nutrition in enhancing the effects of endurance exercise training, we will provide novel insight regarding nutrient-exercise interactions and the potential to help and develop effective methods to maximize health or performance outcomes in response to regular exercise. Trial registration: Current Controlled Trials registration number: ISRCTN27312291 (date assigned: 4 December 2013). The first participant was randomized on 11 December 2013.
- Aerobic training