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The Best Carbohydrates For Muscle Recovery & Growth

There are two periods during the day where you should consume simple carbohydrates. In the morning when you wake up because your body needs a certain amount of energy to activate and simple carbohydrates combined with proteins are easily digested and give you exactly what you need. If you're planning on doing your cardio, skip the carbohydrates and have a protein shake so that you spend your fat reserves as an energy source instead of the carbohydrates. When you are finished with your cardio you can consume some carbohydrates with some proteins.

The second period of the day where it's necessary to consume carbohydrates is after your training session. During this period your body starts it's recovery process along with the growth and muscle regeneration process. During your training session, your body uses large quantities of glycogen and glucose so consuming carbohydrates to replenish the spent energy is very important to jump start the regeneration process.

While training, the muscles are working tirelessly and spend glucose (useful energy) and glycogen (saved energy) as fuel. When the levels of glucose and glycogen in the blood become so low the body can't continue with the training. The muscles are simply out of sufficient energy to keep working. It may come to secretion of the hormone cortisol that has catabolic and stressful influence to the body. This hormone eats the muscle tissue and turns it into glucose followed by a process called gluconeogenesis, meaning production of glucose in the liver which results in losing muscle tissue. Having a protein shake after your training session is a good way to make sure it doesn't come to this. It ensures the secretion of insulin which is one of the anabolic hormones in the body.


Simple carbohydrates vs Complex carbohydrates


The Whey protein is the best source of proteins in this moment because of the quick and easy absorption but it raises the question, what is the best source of carbohydrates? What we need is a high glycemic source of carbohydrates. This means carbohydrates with a high glycemic index over 70. Glycemic index is a measurement that shows how fast the good is raising the sugar levels in your blood and the levels of insulin. It's best to consume food with low glycemic index (lower then 55) that doesn't raise the insulin levels but after a training session we need just the opposite. During this period it's very important to get carbohydrates and proteins to your muscles cells as fast as possible. The high insulin level will help with moving the nutrients to the muscle cell and the high glycemic carbohydrates are best to achieve this particular goal.


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Simple carbohydrates vs Complex carbohydrates

Simple carbohydrates

They are also know as simple sugars and are mostly present in fruit and milk. The two main types of sugar are: Monosaccharides (containing one molecule of carbohydrate) and disaccharides (containing two molecules of carbohydrate)

The monosaccharides is frucotse or fruit sugar. It's glycemic compound is only eleven in a portion of 25 grams which means it's digested slowly and doesn't stimulate secrete of insulin in any meaningful amount. So the fruit is not the best source of carbohydrates after training.

Dextrose also known as glucose has a glycemic index of 96 in a 50 grams portion which means this is one of the most used carbohydrates after training. Dextrose is a good choice but some people gain weight because they can't determine the right amount to take after training.

The disaccharides can be found as sucrose and lactose and even though they have a much higher glycemic index of 60 and 48 they are still not the best to take in after training.


Simple carbohydrates vs Complex carbohydrates


Complex carbohydrates

Maltodextrin is a complex carbohydrate that can be found in rice, corn and potatoes and his molecular chain is shorter than other complex carbohydrates. It consists of loosely connected molecules of glucose. It raises the blood sugar level just like the dextrose. Before being used, the maltodextrin must pass through the liver in order to  spread out the connections between the glucose molecules. It takes more time than dextrose to fill the glycogen stock because it takes more time to digest but the metabolism is slower so there won't come to a drop in blood sugar levels and insulin which happens after taking dextrose. It doesn't add fat tissue so it's one of the most common choices for active individuals.

Simple carbohydrates vs Complex carbohydrates
simple carbohydrates vs complex carbohydrates

Which one is better?

Simple carbohydrates vs complex carbohydrates, So we're down to two good options. Dextrose and maltodextrin. The best thing you can do is try both and see to which one your body reacts better but so far what has proven to be most effective is to split it 50:50.

Optimal proportions

When it comes to optimal proportions of proteins and carbohydrates, the intensity of the training and your body weight are the key factors you need. Most sources recommend 1 gram of protein for every 1 kg of body mass in order to achieve muscle growth. Protein is supposed to be of 2:1 proportion which means if you have 75kg in order to gain muscle mass you need to consume 85 grams of carbohydrates and 43 grams of protein. If you are taking supplements make sure you choose a supplement rich with carbohydrates and protein and take it in the first 30 minutes after training. After one hour you should eat a good and healthy meal.

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