Post-Workout Recovery

For all athletes and high-performance individuals out there, it’s important to understand the essential role that carbohydrates and glycogen play when it comes to after exercise or post-workout recovery. Understanding the important role that glycogen and carbohydrates play helps you in ensuring that you take the right steps.

Nutrition is crucial for all athletes. What athletes consume determine the level of performance possible. Not taking in adequate calories could be conducive to a lack of key micro and macro nutrients. This becomes more important when carbohydrates are involved. Obviously, nowadays with the internet and technology in general, people now have wide access to medical or scientific information from across the globe. We can look to important results that occur right in front of our eyes. Using high-performance Kenyan endurance runners as an example, studies show that the percentage of carbohydrates in their diet is 76.5%, with 20% of their total daily caloric intake comes from sugar. Given the incredible success of Kenyan endurance runners, we can conclude that a great carbohydrate diet plays a significant role.

why carbohydrates and glycogen are important for athletes


Exercise and nutrition must be considered along with recovery when developing a high-performance routine for athletes. Pre-workout nutrition should concentrate on providing energy stores, and take advantage of increased blood flow to muscle tissue caused by an increase in insulin. Carbohydrates play an important role as too does Glycogen. Sugar is stored in the body in the form of glycogen and is stored in the liver and muscles. Carbs usually require about four hours to digest and convert to glycogen in the body. High-intensity workouts as we see prevalent in today’s society normally burn energy at extremely high rates. As a result, today’s athletes need to make sure they maintain the proper carb nutrition to perform and sustain for prolonged periods. Because the human body does not have the ability to supply ample oxygen, it needs to be able to convert fat to serve as valuable fuel in the process. The body must as a consequence utilise the glycogen that was previously stored in the body or sugar brought in from the blood. Increasing the sugar levels in your in your blood via consuming pre-workout snacks can reduce the amount of glycogen burned up during strenuous workout or training. By not relying heavily on glycogen for a portion of the training or competition, the body can sustain high performance more effectively.

Research studies show fatigue and decrease in performance is associated with low carbohydrate diets that cause glycogen depletion. Because glycogen storage capacity is so limited, a majority of high-performance athletes may find it difficult to even keep up with sufficient CHO intake and therefore have some patterns of glycogen depletion. When glycogen levels are low or there is a glycogen depletion, muscles increase the utilization of protein and amino acids to produce glucose, acting as gluconeogenic precursors. Total carb intake ought to be based on the rates of glycogen depletion and the physical activity the athlete is engaged in. Athletes need to understand the importance of restoring glycogen in their body post-exercise.