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Sports Science Update: Revisiting The Glycemic Index

  • By Matt Fitzgerald
  • Published Nov 15, 2011
  • Updated Nov 16, 2011 at 11:22 AM UTC

The Glycemic Index And Training

Consuming carbs immediately before and during prolonged exercise has been shown to enhance performance by providing an extra fuel source to the muscles. Photo: John Segesta

High GI carbohydrates are actually preferable for athletes before, during, and immediately after exercise. During exercise, the muscles burn carbohydrate faster than the body can possibly absorb carbohydrates consumed in food. Consuming carbs immediately before and during prolonged exercise has been shown to enhance performance by providing an extra fuel source to the muscles. But this benefit can only be realized if those carbs are absorbed quickly. They don’t do the muscles any good if they’re just sitting around in the stomach being processed. This is why sports drinks and energy gels contain sugars such as dextrose that are rapidly absorbed.

High GI carbs are also beneficial in the first hour after exercise, because they result in faster replenishment of the muscles’ depleted carbohydrate fuel stores. Also, when high GI carbs are consumed along with protein after exercise, the muscles are able to repair and rebuild themselves faster.

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About The Author:

Matt Fitzgerald is the author of Iron War: Dave Scott, Mark Allen & The Greatest Race Ever Run (VeloPress 2011) and a Coach and Training Intelligence Specialist for PEAR Sports. Find out more at mattfizgerald.org.

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FILED UNDER: Nutrition

Matt Fitzgerald

Matt Fitzgerald

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