Many athletes believe that optimal recovery following exercise requires hi-tech nutrition. But can everyday foods do the trick equally well? Andrew Hamilton looks at what some recent science has to say. MORE
Glycogen levels need to be replenished post exercise
Glycogen synthesis: your post-exercise plan
The importance of replenishing muscle glycogen stores as well as fluids after heavy exercise is well understood by sports scientists and coaches. But the relatively recent discovery that muscle glycogen synthesis is more rapid if carbohydrate is consumed immediately after exercise has focused attention on early post-race strategies to promote recovery and enhance subsequent performance.
Ivy’s key conclusions are as follows:
- To maximise the rate of muscle glycogen storage during short-term recovery, it is essential that a carbohydrate supplement be ingested as soon after exercise as possible;
- Supplements should be ingested at frequent intervals, such as every 30 minutes for 4-5 hours, and be concentrated enough to provide 1.2-1.5g carbohydrate (CHO) per kg of body weight;
- If less carbohydrate consumption is required, a similar rate of glycogen storage can be achieved with the addition of protein and amino acids to the supplement – e.g. 0.8g CHO plus 0.4g PRO per kg of body weight.
‘Furthermore’, Ivy points out, ‘the ingestion of protein with carbohydrate has the added benefit of stimulating muscle amino acid uptake and protein accretion. This could be very important for rapid tissue repair and prevention of muscle soreness during periods of intense training.’
Can J Appl Physiol 2001 26 Suppl S236-45