Glycogen is an important energy source that your body draws on during exercise. It can be topped off (aka: carb loading) and is replenished with carbohydrates in the form of food and/or supplements. A study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition examined whether high or low glycemic index (GI) carbs are better 30 minutes before training.
High GI carbohydrates digest rapidly and spike blood sugars while lower GI foods digest more slowly to provide a steady stream of glycogen replenishing carbohydrate support. When subjects consumed 1.5 grams of either high or low GI carbs per kg of body weight 30 minutes before cycling for an hour at 65% of capacity then kicking the effort up to 90%, differences in the time to exhaustion were statistically insignificant.
True Strength Moment: It should be noted that this study used healthy but untrained men. Since they hadn’t built up a lot of endurance, just about any type of workout like this would probably tire them out quickly. Still, if there’s little if any difference between the types of carbs you eat before training, go with slower burning low GI selections. They’re generally packing more dietary fiber and might help you avoid a post-workout energy crash, too.
Experienced lifters will tell you that muscle size and strength aren’t built in the gym. It takes amino acids from protein and time away from the weight room to rebuild bigger and stronger. Next comes the debate about how long the process of recovery takes. A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research offers some insight on untrained women in the early 20s.
Researchers had 10 subjects perform 4 sets of 10 reps at 80% of their one rep max. They took measurements at 24, 48 and 72 hours post-workout to see if they had regained their original levels of strength. Even after 72 hours, these newbies weren’t fully recovered from their resistance training session.
True Strength Moment: The fact that these subjects were new to weight training probably had a lot to do with the duration of their recovery, especially since the workout was fairly challenging. A whey protein shake within 30 minutes of completing the session might have helped, too. The general recommendation is to give each muscle group at least 48 hours to recover. That’s why many lifters split their workouts upper/lower body or push/pull with a day devoted to cardio after 2 days of weight training. For more on muscle recovery, check today’s creatine Performance Blog post at ABBperformance.com