After a workout, it is crucial to replenish your muscle glycogen stores that you depleted during your workout. Glycogen is the readily available form of glucose. The main role of glucose is to provide energy to working cells within the body. As humans, we derive glucose from the foods we eat and preserve them as glycogen (energy stores).
While you train, your main fuel source the body uses is from muscle glycogen.
The conversion of glucose to glycogen is needed in order to help the body generate Adenosine triphosphate (ATP). ATP is a high-energy molecule found in every cell which assists in transporting energy and muscle contractions.
Post workout is the best most beneficial time to replenish muscle glycogen stores. It is recommended consuming high-glycemic (fast-digesting) carbs to do so.
A recommended time frame to consume these carbs is 30 minutes to 1-hour post workout. By fully replenishing your stores during this time, it will aid in muscle growth and recovery. Post workout carbs will also pull water into muscle cells resulting in muscle cell volumisation and muscle fibre fullness.
After a brutal workout, consuming carbs should have you bounce back from feeling exhausted to rejuvenated. Consuming high-glycemic carbs should also curve cravings for sugary or starchy carbs.
Another benefit of consuming carbs—especially high-glycemic carbs like dextrose—immediately after an intense workout is that you'll feel rejuvenated. Carbs can take you from feeling wiped out and lethargic after a brutal workout to energetic and well fuelled. Plus, eating high-glycemic carbs after a workout typically satisfies a massive craving for sugary or starchy carbs without a negative impact on your diet progress.
After a cardio session, many glycogen stores will have been depleted. Weight lifting does not burn as much, therefore it is argued it is not that crucial to replenish the store. However, either way, you have depleted muscle glycogen, therefore you SHOULD be concerned about replacing it.
It doesn't take much to deplete glycogen stores. A working consisting of several sets last around 15-30 minutes can burn and deplete glycogen store by about 30-40 per cent. If you find yourself training longer and/or higher intensity, glycogen levels can deplete by 60-75 per cent.
We highly suggest you take your carb intake seriously and consume enough to replenish any lost muscle glycogen stores. To truly gain the benefits of optimal muscle recovery and growth, consume fast acting carbs along with some form of protein.
If you fail to do so, you are actually limiting muscle recovery time. Did you know that consuming carbs outside the recommended time frame post workout can potentially reduce the rate of glycogen refuelling by 50 per cent! So what are you waiting for? Carb up and fuel up!
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