Nine weeks of supplementation with a multi-nutrient product augments gains in lean mass, strength, and muscular performance in resistance trained men.
Journal Title (Medline/Pubmed accepted abbreviation):  J. Inl. Soc. Sports Med.
Year: 2010
Number: 7
Page numbers: 40 (9 pages)
doi (if applicable):  10.1186/1550-2783-7-40

Summary of Background and Research Design

Background:Creatine monohydrate, carbohydrates, and protein, when consumed before or during one’s workout, have consistently shown to increase the gains from resistance training. Many supplements contain these ingredients, often in conjunction with other active ingredients. It is possible that other ingredients have additive or synergistic effects that could increase the gain in muscle mass and strength while decreasing body fat. SizeOn Maximum Performance™ (SOmaxP) is a supplement that includes 4 g creatine monohydrate, 39 g maltodextrin, and 7 g whey protein isolate per serving with other proprietary ingredients.

Research Hypothesis:SOmaxP; when matched for creatine, carbohydrates, and protein with a comparator product; will be more effective at improving muscle strength, muscular endurance, and body composition during 9 wks of resistance training.

Subjects:Twenty male subjects, age 19-31 who had undergone resistance training for at least 2 yrs

Experimental design:Subjects refrained from heavy exercise for 48 hrs and fasted for 12 hrs before arriving at the laboratory. The 1 repetition maximum (1 RM) and repetitions until failure (RTF) was determined for bench press for strength measures. RTF was a sum of 3 bench press sets.
Body composition was determined at baseline and at 3, 6, and 9 wks using a scale and a dual energy x-ray absorptiometer (DEXA). Fat mass and lean muscle mass were assessed.

Treatment: The treatment included 1 serving of SOmaxP with 30 oz. of water. Subjects began drinking the beverage 10-15 min before their workout and finished before the end of the workout. The beverage was consumed only on workout days. The comparator product (CP) was matched for creatine, carbohydrates, and whey protein.  Proprietary ingredients for SOmaxP included but were not limited to branched chain amino acids (BCAAs), isomaltulose, and l-ornithine-l-aspartate (LOLA).

Summary of research findings:
  •   Body fat percentage decreased from 16.8% to 15.5% with SOmaxP while it increased for the CP group from 16.5% to 16.9%.
  •   Lean body mass increased 2.4% for the SOmaxP group and only 0.3% for the CP group.
  • The 1 RM for bench press and repetitions to failure (RTF) increased significantly for SOmaxP group (The average 1 RM increased from 233.5 lb to 283.5 lb and the average RTF went from 19.6 to 30.25). Strength increased for the CP group, too, to similar end point values. However, because the CP group started off stronger the percent increase is statistically significantly less.

Interpretation of findings/Key practice applications:

SOmaxP, when taken 4 times a week for 9 weeks, was more effective at increasing lean muscle mass and muscle strength and reducing fat mass than the same dose of creatine, carbohydrate, and whey protein.


A key limitation to this paper is that treatment groups were not well-matched at baseline for 1-RM and RTF for the bench press. The CP group had a 1-RM that was >20 lbs. more than the SOmaxP group at baseline. Similarly, the RTF was 7 reps (34%) higher at baseline for CP vs. SOmaxP. Thus, there was less room for improvement in the CP vs. SOmaxP group. Although the authors used the ANCOVA technique was baseline measurements as a covariate, a more acceptable approach would have been to pair match the subjects on the basis of strength prior to randomization.
The amounts of proprietary ingredients were not included in the paper. It would be interesting to know the quantities of BCAA, isomaltulose, and LOLA in the product and what other ingredients were present in SOmaxP in order to potentially explain the mechanisms by which SOmaxP was effective. 
Creatine in conjunction with whey protein and carbohydrates have been shown to increase muscle mass and strength; the authors do not show errors bars on their strength measures graph (Fig. 7) so it is difficult to see exactly how large the mean difference between SOmaxP and CP compared with the experimental variation. It would also have been expected that the addition of even the CP supplement with the training protocol would increase lean body mass more than 0.3% (Figure 8); the authors did not discuss why it did not.  
The authors noted that data were acquired at baseline and at 3, 6, and 9 wks although only data for baseline and the 9 wk data point were reported. It would be interesting to see how quickly the COmaxP exerts its effects (independently and compared to CP) and what the shape of the curves look like for fat loss, lean muscle growth, and muscle strength. (It is difficult to gain muscle and cut body fat simultaneously.)
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