Everywhere we hear the recommendation that you have to eat carbohydrates after training. But why? What to choose? What is the importance of the composition of a post-workout meal for our body? Find out what carbohydrates to reach for and what are the benefits.
Many people, especially those on a reduction diet, have doubts about whether carbohydrates consumed after training will not be converted into fat, which they want to get rid of. Such thinking is wrong, because the time just after training is the best moment throughout the day for carbohydrate intake.
Fast glycogen replenishment
The main reason for consuming carbohydrates after training is to replenish the glycogen in the muscles you used. When you train, your main fuel is glycogen in your muscles. Glycogen is a form of glucose storage. This serves to create ATP molecules that transport chemical energy and play a key role for muscle contractions. Research confirms that the best way to replenish glycogen stores after training is to consume rapidly digestible carbohydrates.
Research shows that during resistance training, lasting 15-30 minutes and containing 6-20 series, glycogen stores are depleted by 30-40%. If you train 60-90 minutes and you additionally use high intensity techniques, such as aerobics or tabata, the glycogen level is reduced by 60-75%.
Treat carbohydrate intake and rebuild glycogen stores seriously. If you do not do it, you will be deprived of proper regeneration. In fact, the delay in taking carbohydrates by just 2 hours reduces the rate of glycogen replenishment by up to 50%
Another advantage of consuming fast-absorbed carbohydrates such as dextrose after training is that you will feel “refreshed”. Carbohydrates can make you stop feeling tired and lethargic after a hard workout. In addition, the intake of quickly absorbed carbohydrates after training satisfies a huge appetite for sugar or starch, without adversely affecting your diet.
Another benefit of carbohydrate intake with a high glycemic index are insulin spikes. While insulin is considered an anabilitic hormone, its role in muscle development has been discussed many times. Once it was believed that it is a key factor initiating the synthesis of muscle proteins and decreasing muscle breakdown. However, today, some evidence indicates that it is not crucial for muscle growth. It turns out that delivering the right amino acids to muscle cells is much more important.
However, insulin still plays a big role after training. It binds to specific receptors in muscle cells. This allows glucose, amino acids, and even creatine or carnitine, which are strongly dependent on insulin, get inside the cells and provide certain benefits.
Dextrose – the best after training
Dextrose is a sugar that is characterized by extremely fast digestion. It works especially after training, when the time to reach muscles is crucial. An additional advantage, in addition to the glycogen reconstruction, is the increased inflow of water to the muscles, and hence – better nutrition and delivery of consumed supplements, such as creatine.
Fructose is a bit too slow
Fructose is one of the most popular sugars. It owes its publicity to the presence of min. in fruits and honey that appear on our tables quite often. Unfortunately, it is not the best choice after training. All due to the relatively low glycemic index. In the case of fructose, we can say that it is not sufficiently quickly and effectively used, because its path begins in the bloodstream, from where it goes to the liver, to be released only when the body reports a need for sugar. In the ranking, dextrose and glucose are definitely higher.
The confusion is quite big, because some people limit sugar everywhere they can, others eat it after training. Well, the truth is that the intake of moderate amounts of carbohydrates after training is necessary and will not cause weight gain. On the contrary – their lack may cause us adverse effects in the form of inadequate regeneration and lack of strength for further challenges. If you are on reduction – reduce carbohydrates from the remaining meals throughout the day.
In the meantime, consider the following information
– carbohydrates have a positive effect on the absorption of other supplements
– after training it is good to consume up to 40 g of protein derived from the combination of whey and casein to increase muscle protein synthesis
– if you decide to give up carbohydrates after training, drink 5 – 10 g of BCAA amino acids that will protect your muscles against catabolism
– it is recommended to consume immediately after training 20-60 g of simple carbohydrates, high GI, depending on your weight, goals, etc. However, if you feel that after such a dose you feel lethargic, and the insulin jump is too big, choose a ratio of 15-30 g carbohydrates with a lower GI – for example fruit and the same number of those that have a high index.