Today, we’re looking into the science of ultra-fast recovery post games…I want you to start thinking of your recovery phase as the start of your fuelling phase for the next session or game – they’re always interlinked.

When it comes to our main priority, we’re talking about carbohydrates and glycogen replenishment.

Unlike protein, the period immediately after a depleting game is the perfect time to get accelerated rates of glycogen replenishment as glycogen-synthesising enzymes are most active.

For example, early work by Ivy et al (1988) showed that when delaying carb intake by 2 hours vs immediately post, athletes were 45% less replenished.

More recently, it’s been shown that athletes have heightened rates of glycogen replenishment in the first 4 hours after hard exercise…a window of opportunity.

Therefore, it’s highly encouraged that athletes take advantage of this period by consuming 1-1.2g/kg of carbs per hour for the first 4 hours post. Now, this doesn’t mean tanking in loads of carbs after ‘leg day’…I mean team sport matches, endurance events etc.

I.e. an 80kg athlete would eat 80-96g of carbs per hour for the first 4 hours.

When athletes follow a more frequent eating pattern, every 30 mins vs every 2 hours, they have greater rates of glycogen replenishment (van Loon et al, 2000).

If for some reason you’re unable to hit this recommended carb intake, it’s been found that consuming protein with an inadequate carb intake can have the same rates of recovery.

If you’re currently doing the maths in your head, you’ll soon figure out this is a shit load of carbs to take on board. Plus, the time when you most need to recovery, you’re usually absolutely ruined and have zero appetite.

During this period, I love using and rotating a combination of carb sources; liquid, semi-solid and solid. I.e. if you have solid meals every 30-60 mins, you’ll become too bloated and have zero appetite, therefore impacting your drive to eat another meal. On the flip side, if you drink ~100g of carbs per hour for 4 hours, you’ll feel sick and probably feel like shitting yourself.

Therefore, we need a balance of all three combinations.

Please note that these recommendations are dependent on the level of depletion and the time frame between the two bouts of training/games.

You do not need 400g of carbs after your 3 sets of 10 tricep kickbacks.

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