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Energy Drinks Improve Five-Kilometer Running Performance in Recreational Endurance Runners

Prins, Philip J.; Goss, Fredric L.; Nagle, Elizabeth F.; Beals, Kim; Robertson, Robert J.; Lovalekar, Mita T.; Welton, Gary L.

The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: November 2016 - Volume 30 - Issue 11 - p 2979–2990
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000001391
Original Research

Prins, PJ, Goss, FL, Nagle, EF, Beals, K, Robertson, RJ, Lovalekar, MT, and Welton, GL. Energy drinks improve five-kilometer running performance in recreational endurance runners. J Strength Cond Res 30(11): 2979–2990, 2016—The purpose of this study was to evaluate exercise performance time and related physiological and perceptual responses of recreational endurance runners after they had ingested a commercially available energy drink (Red Bull, Red Bull GmbH, Fuschl am See, Austria) containing caffeine, glucose, and taurine. Recreational endurance runners (n = 18; 13 men and 5 women; age: 20.39 ± 3.27 years; weight: 71.25 ± 17.17 kg; height: 178.00 ± 7.57 cm; V[Combining Dot Above]O2max: 55.94 ± 7.66 ml·kg−1·min−1) participated in a double-blind, crossover, repeated-measures study where they were randomized to supplement with 500 ml of the commercially available energy drink Red Bull and a noncaffeinated, sugar-free placebo (PLA) 60 minutes before completing a 5-km time trial on a treadmill, separated by 7 days. Heart rate, rating of perceived exertion (RPE) (RPE-Overall; RPE-Chest; RPE-Legs), and affect were recorded at rest, 1 hour before ingestion, at 5-minute intervals during the 5-km time trial, and immediately after exercise. Session RPE and session affect were obtained 5 minutes after completion of the 5-km time trial. The distance covered at each 5-minute interval during the 5-km time trial was recorded. Performance improved with the energy drink compared with placebo (Red Bull: 1,413.2 ± 169.7 vs. PLA: 1,443.6 ± 179.2 seconds; p = 0.016), but there were no differences in RPE, affect, session RPE, session affect, or the distance covered at 5-minute splits between the two 5-km time trials (p > 0.05). These results demonstrate that consuming a commercially available energy drink before exercise can improve 5-km performance. These results may have application for altering pre-exercise nutritional strategies in recreational runners.

1Department of Exercise Science, Grove City College, Grove City, Pennsylvania;

2Center for Exercise and Health-Fitness Research, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania;

3Department of Sport Medicine and Nutrition, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; and

4Department of Psychology, Grove City College, Grove City, Pennsylvania

Address correspondence to Dr. Philip J. Prins,

Copyright © 2016 by the National Strength & Conditioning Association.