Carbohydrates or sugars are an important part of our diet, as are proteins or fats. We most often encounter the term simple (monosaccharides) or complex (polysaccharides) sugars. The most well-known natural polysaccharides include starches and fiber, as well as muscle glycogen. One of the most widely used carbohydrates or gainers is maltodextrin, which is composed of only a few dozen glucose molecules and therefore has easy digestibility and is often used as an essential component of gainers.
Glycemic index of carbohydrates
For athletes, the complexity of carbohydrates is not as important as the value of the glycemic index (GI). The glycemic index is a number that speaks about how fast the ingested sugar (carbohydrate) is metabolized and thus converted into a ready source of energy – glucose. Sugars with a high glycemic index “fast sugars” (GI over 70) increase rapid blood glucose. For sugars with medium values (GI 55 – 70) this rate decreases. With sugars with a low glycemic index (GI less than 55), the breakdown takes much longer and the rise in blood glucose levels is only slight.
The glycemic index of a food may vary depending on various factors such as:
Proportion of sugars (for example, green unripe banana contains more fructose and has a GI of 35, while a ripe banana has much more glucose and therefore the GI is more than 70)Presence of fiberFood hardnessPresence of proteins or fatsPresence of acidity (vinegar, lemon ..)
Is the gainer suitable for training people?
The gainer can be used as a source of energy before, during, but also after regeneration. Their higher proportion in the diet (approximately 70% and sometimes even more) is especially important for aerobic sports, where there is a significant depletion of glycogen stores compared to anaerobic sports. The benefits of higher carbohydrate intake and increased glycogen stores are most visible in performance, especially for activities lasting more than 45 minutes. Recent scientific studies also point to a positive increase in strength, explosiveness and muscle volume with higher glycogen stores.
CARBOHYDRATER SUPERCOMPENSATION WILL HELP YOU IMPROVE PERFORMANCE
In the case of endurance athletes, it is recommended to reduce the training load or include a break in the last 3-4 days before the competition and significantly increase the daily carbohydrate intake to approximately 7-10 grams per kilogram of body weight. This high intake of carbohydrates is very difficult to achieve with a normal diet and foods, so the most suitable remedy is just a gainer. You can take the required amount of carbohydrates with a gainer or a carbohydrate or carbohydrate-protein drink. In this way, the glycogen stores in the stressed muscle areas are increased. For maximum effect, it is possible to include a very hard workout combined with a minimum carbohydrate intake 3-4 days before this supercompensation. However, for many, this method is inconvenient. Nowadays, it has been proven that carbohydrate supercompensation can be achieved in just one day, if it is preceded by a short and very intense training.
Gainer restores and increases glycogen stores
It should be mentioned that in the human body (70 kg male) there are approximately 400-500 g of glycogen stores, which corresponds to the amount of energy consumed in a 29 km run. There are also large differences in glycogen stores between an untrained and trained individual.
Muscle glycogen in 100 g of muscle:
Untrained muscle = 13 gTrained muscle = 32 gTrained muscle pre-supplied with glycogen = 35 – 40 gAthletes can reach a glycogen supply of up to 800 g. Diet has the greatest impact on these stocks. The rule applies here: high training intensity = high carbohydrate consumption = high glycogen requirement = performance improvement.
Carbohydrate intake, together with amino acids, has been shown to double the insulin response. Which is a key factor for building muscle mass and anabolic effect.
GLYCOGEN BINDS WATER AND IMPROVES MUSCLE VOLUME
The fact is that one gram of glycogen binds about 2.7 g of water in the cells. However, this does not mean that the weight gain will be significant. Through the bound water in the muscle cells, the fullness of the muscle mass and larger muscle volumes occur. In this case, bodybuilders and strength athletes see the advantage in particular. The risk of dehydration is also reduced during exercise.
Muscle glycogen depletion is closely related to increased levels of muscle breakdown and weakened immune system
There is a sudden loss of muscle strength and fatigue
Glycogen fluctuations and depletion cause coordination disorders, dizziness, inability and weaknessA constant glycogen level ensures the proper functioning of the brain and the maintenance of blood glucose levels
A low-carb diet for athletes causes muscle fatigue and poorer performance
An example of glycogen depletion when an athlete consumes too few carbohydrates while undergoing strenuous training. The diet contained 45-50% of energy instead of the necessary 55-65%.
Carbohydrate intake before exercise
A higher dose of carbohydrates through a gainer (1 – 4.5 g per kg body weight) with a high glycemic index should be taken 3-4 hours before the procedure. This temporarily increases (approximately 6 hours) the supply of liver and muscle glycogen. Later intake of “quick sugars” is inappropriate because it causes a rapid rise in insulin levels, which causes hypoglycemia (drop in blood sugar) and higher consumption of muscle glycogen. It also causes central nervous system depression. However, according to the latest studies, it is recommended to take fast sugars in small amounts also before strength training. This is due to the partial resynthesis of muscle glycogen in the intervals between sets. This reduces the risk of depletion and thus the risk of overtraining and incomplete regeneration.
Carbohydrate intake during training
During training, the insulin response is suppressed, so sugar intake increases blood glucose levels and thus contributes to muscle glycogen savings. However, there are limits to the rate and amount at which ingested sugars can be metabolized and converted to energy, especially during intense performance at the anaerobic threshold level. For example, according to the latest research, the dose is increased from 1.0 to 1.5 g / min. accelerate the oxidation of sugars from 1.0 g / min to only 1.1 g / min. Therefore, the intake of sugars during exercise makes sense mainly during long-term and less intense exercise (marathon, triathlon, cycling stages…).
WHICH CARBOHYDRATES ARE THE BEST DURING TRAINING?
Among the most effective sugars during exercise are high glycemic index (fast sugars) such as glucose, sucrose or maltodextrin. Fructose is unsuitable during training because its very slow absorption can lead to digestive problems. The result can be much better if the sugars with different glycemic index are combined, such as glucose, maltose, sucrose, fructose, ribose. In the body, these individual sugars are metabolized and transported by various mechanisms. It is important to mention that such a carbohydrate drink (most often ionic drink, energy gel, energy tablets, energy bars…) should not be more concentrated than about 5% as stomach upset may occur. If you want to increase the carbohydrate content of the drink, the most suitable option is maltodextrin, which can be dosed in much higher amounts.
Carbohydrate intake after training – a means of effective regeneration
Immediately after training, it is advisable to take an adequate amount of carbohydrates with a high glycemic index due to rapid regeneration. Otherwise, the body must rely on the slow recovery of liver and muscle glycogen. These fast sugars should be taken within 45-60 minutes after training, when glycogen synthesis is most intense. The gainer plays an important role here. Most gainers contain these fast sugars (maltodextin, glucose) together with quality proteins, which causes better regeneration, insulin response and thus anabolic effect. It should be mentioned that fructose restores glycogen stores in the liver faster than other sugars.
GAINER AND ITS CORRECT DOSAGE AFTER TRAINING
The amount of carbohydrates received through the gainer after training does not need to be exaggerated. Dosages above 1.2 – 1.5 g per kg body weight per hour (75 – 90 g / hour) do not make practical sense because it exceeds the regenerative capacity of the body. If the gainer is dosed gradually in smaller doses after training, glycogen resynthesis is significantly faster. Suitable reception is every 15 to 30 minutes. An important role in glycogen recovery resp. regeneration is also played by the intensity of the load. The faster the glycogen stores are depleted, the faster the return to the original level. Attention should be drawn to the fact that active rest after training significantly slows down glycogen recovery. Especially in the slow muscle cells that work during such rest.
Based on my experience with carbohydrate supercompensation and the results of my clients with increasing glycogen stores, I recommend food sources of carbohydrates such as rice, pasta, fruit, potatoes, oatmeal and different types of cereals with respect to different individuals and intolerances. To achieve optimal carbohydrate intake, it is necessary to take a gainer with the diet.
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