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The Doctor's Corner
Post-Workout Carbs And Performance
Q. Is there any truth to the idea that an athlete must eat within 30 to 45 minutes of exercise to maximize glycogen? Does glycogen super-compensation really occur?
A. No. The truth is that with an athlete consuming a typical mixed diet on a daily basis, the glycogen store wouldn’t be reduced to a level where workout performance would be compromised. Glycogen “super-compensation” is a real phenomenon, but it’s most apparent in the post-exercise time domain and relates to the fact that training upregulates the activity of glycogen synthase, the enzyme that reconstitutes the intramuscular glycogen pool. For a comprehensive recent review of these issues, see this citation:
Jensen TE, Richter EA. Regulation of glucose and glycogen metabolism during and after exercise. J Physiol. 2012 Mar 1;590(Pt 5):1069-76.