Athletes who ingest carbohydrates after an intense endurance training, provide during a subsequent intense strength training a higher power output than when they take no carbohydrates. This effect is greatest when they take carbohydrates that are absorbed quickly.
Glycogen is the main energy source for intensive activities and thus decisive for a good performance. Intense long exercise depletes the glycogen stock. To supplement this store athletes should take carbohydrates.
Different types of carbohydrates are absorbed into the blood at different speeds during the digestive process. One type of carbohydrate supplements the glycogen stock faster than the other. Thus, a distinction can be made between fast and slow carbohydrates.
That carbohydrate intake can have positive effects on various sports performances has been shown previously. Whether it also has an impact on strength performance, however, was hitherto unknown. The American scientist Oliver and his colleagues examined this relationship and also studied whether intake of fast carbohydrates ensures a better performance than ingesting slow carbohydrates.
CARBS AND POWER
Athletes with depleted glycogen stock showed fewer declines in power output during strength training when they take carbohydrates than athletes who do not. This decline is the smallest in athletes who take fast carbohydrates. The power turned out larger because the athletes performed, thanks to the carbohydrates, faster movements.
In this study sixteen well-trained strength athletes conducted an intensive endurance training in which glycogen stores were depleted. After they were given a drink with no carbs, slow carbs (maltodextrin) or fast carbohydrates (amylopectin).
Both the athletes and the researchers did not know which drinks the athletes were given. Two hours later, the athletes started with a warm up, followed by high intense strength training. This training consisted of five sessions of ten squats with a weight of 75 percent of 1RM. The athletes did this three times in three weeks, so that they had taken all drinks once The delivered power and speed of the movement were measured. From there power could be calculated. Most power was supplied by the athletes who took the fast carbs.
Athletes who have a strength training on their program shortly after they already did an intensive endurance workout, can take carbohydrates to improve their power. The intake of fast carbohydrates gives the best results.
THE PRACTICE OF CYCLING
Cyclists use during stage races within half an hour after the race a so called recovery drink. Which is composed of fast carbohydrates, supplemented with 20 grams of whey protein? The idea behind this is that depleted carbohydrate reserves in this way will be filled faster and better and recovery therefore occurs quicker. By consuming other food that is digested less fast and therefore needs more time to be incorporated by the body the recovery is delayed.