Post-training carbohydrates: muscle growth and recovery!


Simple carbohydrates should be taken only twice a day: the first portion – in the morning, the second – after training.

Author: Jim Brewster

As you know, simple carbohydrates should be taken only twice a day: the first portion – in the morning, the second – after training.

The morning portion helps the body cope with the "starvation" associated with a prolonged night's sleep. At this point, we need simple carbohydrates and quickly digestible protein. But if in the morning you have planned cardio training, put the carbohydrates aside and limit yourself to a small protein cocktail. In this case, training, you will be more effective in burning fat reserves, and after the aerobic training, take a carbohydrate-protein mixture.

Post-training carbohydrates: muscle growth and recovery!

The end of the training session is the ideal time for the second portion of simple carbohydrates: the value of this intake of carbohydrates is very high, because with it, the growth and recovery processes are started in muscle tissue.

After a grueling training in our body, all stocks of glucose and glycogen are depleted. During training, muscles use glucose (a source of instant energy) and glycogen (a reserve source) to generate energy. Accordingly, at some point the level of glucose in the blood (available energy) and glycogen in the cells (reserve energy) decreases so much that the continuation of intensive training becomes impossible. Muscles simply do not have enough fuel for further work.

At this point, the body begins to secrete the hormone cortisol – a stress hormone that has a pronounced catabolic effect. What does cortisol do? It corrodes muscle tissue, forcing it to turn the protein into glucose. The synthesis of glucose from amino acids in the liver was called gluconeogenesis, its final result is the loss of muscle tissue.

A post-training cocktail hinders these processes. It also stimulates the secretion of insulin, which, as you know, refers to anabolic hormones (if you are training without steroids, you should increase the secretion of all anabolic hormones by all available methods).

It is known that the optimal source of protein for post-training complex is whey protein, which is quickly absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract. And what source of carbohydrates can be called optimal? We need high-glycemic carbohydrates. This definition is applicable to carbohydrates with a high glycemic index (from 70 and above).

Glycemic index (GI) shows how quickly after taking the product in the blood, the level of sugar and, accordingly, insulin increases. Under normal conditions, in order to avoid a sharp rise in insulin and a subsequent drop in glucose concentration, we should choose products with a low glycemic index (GI 55 and below). But after training we adhere to the diametrically opposite strategy.

It is important to quickly deliver carbohydrates (and proteins) to the muscles. Also, we need to raise the secretion of insulin, which will help nutrients penetrate inside the muscle cells. And this task is best handled by high-glycemic carbohydrates.

In nature, simple carbohydrates are represented by sugars, which are mainly found in milk, fruits and some other products. There are two types of simple sugars:

  1. Monosaccharides – consist of a single carbohydrate molecule.

fructose – fruit sugar. Probably, you think that fruits will become an excellent source of carbohydrates, but this is not so – the glycemic index of 25-gram portion is equal to 11. This means that carbohydrates are slowly absorbed and weakly stimulate the secretion of insulin.

dextrose – also known as glucose; sources of this carbohydrate are many. Glycemic index 50-gram portion is equal to 96, and therefore dextrose is most often included in post-training complexes. Dextrose is an excellent choice, but one must take into account the individual characteristics of the organism. People who are prone to fattening, can face carbohydrate deposition in adipose tissue, and therefore start taking dextrose should be carefully, carefully listening to the body's reaction.

sucrose – this is normal table sugar. It consists of one molecule of glucose and one molecule of fructose. The glycemic index of the 25 gram portion is 60.

lactose – milk sugar. Glycemic index 25-gram portion – total 48.

As you can see, in addition to dextrose, all other sources of carbohydrates can not be called ideal ingredients for a post-training cocktail.

Maltodextrin is a complex carbohydrate complex for the production of which crops, rice or starch are used. Polysaccharide chains are shorter than other complex carbohydrates, and the glucose molecules in maltodextrin are connected by a weak chemical bond. Like dextrose, maltodextrin is absorbed into the intestines and equally effectively increases blood sugar and insulin secretion.

Post-training carbohydrates: muscle growth and recovery!

Before maltodextrin reaches the cells and tissues, it must pass through the liver, where the bonds between the glucose molecules will be destroyed. Therefore, replenishment of glycogen stores is slower than with dextrose. However, due to delayed transformation, it is possible to avoid a sharp rise in the secretion of insulin and the subsequent decrease in the level of glucose, which we often encounter when using dextrose. Therefore, an increase in the volume of adipose tissue when taking maltodextrin is unlikely.

Post-training carbohydrates: muscle growth and recovery!

Post-training carbohydrates: muscle growth and recovery!

Post-training carbohydrates: muscle growth and recovery!

Post-training carbohydrates: muscle growth and recovery!

So, we have two suitable options: dextrose and maltodextrin. You can alternately try both and see what works best. The most popular solution is a combination of dextrose and maltodextrin in a one to one ratio. This point of view is fully justified, since the use of pure dextrose loses for several reasons.

Experimentally proved that the evacuation of gastric contents (the process of digestion of food and its passage into the intestine) slows down with an increase in the proportion of dissolved molecules (osmolarity) in the contents of the stomach.

Dextrose, being a monosaccharide, increases the osmolarity of the solution, and therefore slows the evacuation of the contents of the stomach. When combining dextrose with polysaccharide (a polymer from carbohydrate molecules, in our case, with maltodextrin), the osmolality of the solution rises slightly, which avoids delaying food in the stomach. Therefore, this combination is ideal for the restoration of glycogen stores, hydration and increased efficiency.

And today I consider this option a good choice for the post-training complex, although, taking into account the new achievements, which the next section is devoted to, it is already somewhat outdated.

A new carbohydrate product has appeared on the market of sports nutrition. Waxy Maize is made from corn starch and absorbed very quickly: the lion's share of carbohydrates instantaneously reaches the intestine, where it is fermented and digested; Waxy corn is quickly evacuated from the stomach and does not stay at this stage.

Also, this product helps other drugs, such as creatine, to be absorbed at a higher rate. In some complex preparations for sports nutrition, creatine is already included, but there are also food additives containing only waxy maize.

My opinion about this type of carbohydrates – they will ideally fit into the mixes for mass gain, will be suitable for loading with creatine, and they can be taken throughout the day, even before training. It is widely believed that waxy maize does not cause a peak rise in insulin levels, but my studies conducted in preparation for this article indicate the opposite – peak insulin rise takes place.

If we are talking about post-training carbohydrates, then waxy maize should become the drug of choice. You only need to devote a little time to choosing a particular product, since the market today is simply overcrowded. You will be offered preparations for restoration, a combination of wax corn and various types of simple carbohydrates, which theoretically can enhance the secretion of insulin. There are preparations that need to be mixed with protein, and there are preparations that should not be mixed with protein. Some dissolve well, others remain in the water in the form of poorly soluble lumps.

I do not use ready-made "restorative" drinks and prefer a post-training cocktail of my own preparation. Therefore, I choose drugs that can be combined with anything, and which, in combination with the protein, dissolve well in water. We never forget how important the protein is during the post-training "anabolic window".

Post-training carbohydrates: muscle growth and recovery!

Ratio of carbohydrates and proteins

Now let's see what should be the optimal ratio of ingredients in our carbohydrate-protein cocktail? Determining factors will be the body weight and the phase of the training process. Most sources recommend multiplying the dry body weight in kg by 0,55 at the drying stage and at 1,1 – at the stage of muscle mass gain.

Protein should be half as much as carbohydrates. For example, if your dry weight is 77 kg, you should take 42 g carbohydrates and 21 g protein in the drying phase, and 85 g carbohydrates and 42 g protein in the muscle gain step. Drink for 30 minutes after training, after an hour after taking the cocktail should be a full meal.

Post-training carbohydrates: muscle growth and recovery!

Post-training carbohydrates: muscle growth and recovery!

Post-training carbohydrates: muscle growth and recovery!

Post-training carbohydrates: muscle growth and recovery!

Post-training carbohydrates: muscle growth and recovery!

At the expense of the ratio of carbohydrates and proteins: 1. As I understand it, the ratio of two to one (42: 21 in the drying phase and 85: 42 on the mass) is in one serving of the cocktail? 2. If the ratio is two to one, the optimal option is to mix maltodextrin and dextrose with a ratio of one to one (that is, the ratio of protein, maltodextrin and dextrose will 1: 1: 1)? 3. What is the best way to use such cocktails, two or three times a day (in the morning, before and after training) or at some time to consume protein without carbohydrate (under the word protein is whey)? Thank you in advance…

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