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How does "excess" post-workout protein impact replenishment of glycogen stores?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created August 15, 2012 at 2:38 AM

Let's say I am generally following the 1 gram of protein per lb of body weight protocol for my daily intake and the 4:1 carb-to-protein ratio during the post-workout window (heavy glycolytic workload). Now let's say that I finished working out and am about to go to bed. I have one meal left. I can either miss my daily protein mark or consume it in the meal but have closer to a 2:1 ratio of carb-to-protein... which is preferred and why?

Will the protein slow down the carbs during the "window of opportunity" for the transport to muscle glycogen? If so, what actually happens instead? Do the carbs go to fat production instead of glycogen?

Also, let's say I eat rice and steak. Is the rice digested quickly enough that the protein doesn't have time to make a big impact? What about potatoes and steak?

Lastly, Joe Friel (seemingly with the advice of Cordain), says for a certain window of time after demanding exercise, it should be 4:1 carb-to-protein and then strict paleo thereafter (leaning towards lower-carb paleo). Is it really a specific block of time or more of a sliding scale?

5b69a02dadcae753771921d913909215

(1457)

on August 15, 2012
at 04:04 AM

Your link has a ton of citations. Thanks for the reading material and pointing me in the right direction!

5b69a02dadcae753771921d913909215

(1457)

on August 15, 2012
at 03:58 AM

Just to clarify, I really want to understand the science not just get dietary advice. I will always do what works best for me rather than take some blanket advice, but in this circumstance I would like to understand the mechanisms at play.

5b69a02dadcae753771921d913909215

(1457)

on August 15, 2012
at 03:50 AM

I am currently training for (off-road) triathlon. I only do the higher carb stuff after prolonged intense work. Let's say intervals with 40 minutes of work at lactate threshold. For strength work or longer slower endurance work I am more moderate with the carbs.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on August 15, 2012
at 03:11 AM

Great answer .

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2 Answers

7
68294383ced9a0eafc16133aa80d1905

(5795)

on August 15, 2012
at 03:04 AM

Some out there will argue that carbohydrate isn't necessary at all. Mauro Di Pasquale in the "Anabolic Diet" states that maxing out Glycogen stores post-workout can actually be counter-intuitive and interrupt gains as it blunts the extra insulin sensitivity.

http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/md92.htm

That's because the intake of carbs after exercise blunts the post exercise insulin sensitivity. That means that once muscle has loaded up on glycogen, which it does pretty quickly on carbs, insulin sensitivity decreases dramatically. As you know this statement runs counter to present thinking and research about post exercise nutrition although we've mentioned that one recent study showing that carbohydrate intake after exercise is non contributory to the increase in protein synthesis brought about by the use of a protein hydrolysate post exercise.

I've done both. I've hammered carbohydrates post-workout and I've completely avoided them. I didn't tend to see a huge difference even with similar states going in (both fasted and fed) and with the same type of training.

One thing I do believe people really overestimate is how depleted glycogen really gets. While it doesn't take terribly long to deplete stores, those who are re-feeding even every few days and incorporate even a moderate amount of carbohydrate in the diet are going to rarely if ever deplete glycogen, even if they "enter ketosis" frequently. One thing that doesn't get mentioned often is that the body does have some adaptation to carbohydrate storage and even if someone is lowering carbs day after day, the up-regulation of glycogen storage will make it more difficult to deplete, especially if the activity level remains fairly consistent.

In conclusion...post-workout nutrition should be an N=1 experiment that everyone tinkers with and tracks based on a specific goal they have. Try different Pre-WO and Post-WO meals and states. Try different training levels, methods and timing.

5b69a02dadcae753771921d913909215

(1457)

on August 15, 2012
at 04:04 AM

Your link has a ton of citations. Thanks for the reading material and pointing me in the right direction!

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on August 15, 2012
at 03:11 AM

Great answer .

5b69a02dadcae753771921d913909215

(1457)

on August 15, 2012
at 03:58 AM

Just to clarify, I really want to understand the science not just get dietary advice. I will always do what works best for me rather than take some blanket advice, but in this circumstance I would like to understand the mechanisms at play.

0
C3bc92e6b5eba45dc55f43ac3c70cc25

on August 15, 2012
at 03:40 AM

Do the carbs go to fat production instead of glycogen?

This depends on your overall CHO & macros before your workout (calories in vs out).

You're making reference to Paleo For Athletes? That book is aimed towards endurance athletes. Worrying about CHO:PRO digestion time of ratios can tedious. Unless you have more than 1 training session a day or prepping for an event/competition. What sport do you play & what are your goals through using those ratios?

5b69a02dadcae753771921d913909215

(1457)

on August 15, 2012
at 03:50 AM

I am currently training for (off-road) triathlon. I only do the higher carb stuff after prolonged intense work. Let's say intervals with 40 minutes of work at lactate threshold. For strength work or longer slower endurance work I am more moderate with the carbs.

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