Wednesday, July 30, 2014
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Post-workout key: Gummy bears?

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Fast-digesting carbs, like candy, are ideal after a workout.
Fast-digesting carbs, like candy, are ideal after a workout. iStock

After finishing that intense, fat-blasting workout what’s the first thing you reach for to replenish your body? Protein? Creatine? BCAAs? (Branched-chained amino acids help stimulate the building of protein in muscle.)

While none of those options are wrong – and research done by the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition says you should be taking most, if not all of them – one trick that may help optimize gains is to simply scarf down some gummy bears post-workout.

Now, before you discredit this idea as some ‘broscience’ fitness fad, listen to what happens to your body during a workout. The suggestion might not sound that far-fetched.

When you exercise, your body is fueled by glycogen – the storage form of glucose – to give us the energy we need to push through those final reps. After a workout, your muscles are craving nutrients. It’s important to feed those taxed and torn fibers in an effort to expedite the recovery process and even prevent muscle breakdown. 

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  • Now, we've all been told how crucial protein is for building muscle. And I’m sure we’ve all mistakenly heard about the dangers of protein’s hastily appointed redheaded stepbrother – carbohydrates.

    Carbs are usually viewed as a deterrent to our weight loss goals – and while that is true – the timing you consume carbs and the type of carbs you are eating can be the reason you aren’t seeing the results you’ve been anxiously awaiting. 

    There are two types of carbs. Low glycemic carbs that our body digests slowly, making them an ideal source to use for sustainable energy. They typically include foods such as: brown rice, sweet potatoes, oats, nuts and fruit. 

    On the flip side, we have high glycemic carbs, which are quickly absorbed into our body and cause a dramatic spike in insulin. These kinds of carbs you’ll get from white bread, potatoes, rice cakes and candy – thus the gummy bears. High glycemic foods result in a quick spike in insulin and blood sugar (also known as blood glucose). Low glycemic foods have a slower, smaller effect. (Harvard Health Publications)

    According to Jim Stoppani, Ph.D, doctor of exercise physiology, you should eat gummy bears immediately after your workout. “Fast-digesting carbs hit your blood stream quicker, causing insulin to spike. Fast-digesting carbs are ideal after a workout. That is one of the main reasons why I recommend opting for the gummy bears,” Stoppani states on his website.

    By eating gummy bears, or another high glycemic carb like instant oatmeal, you rapidly replenish the glycogen you exerted during your workout. The sugar rush will also increase your insulin level, and when your insulin level increases, the peptide hormone attaches itself to specific receptors on muscle cells, creating a freeway for other nutrients like amino acids, creatine and the almighty protein, to enter directly into the bloodstream. 

    Take your high glycemic carb first, then your post-workout supplements, and feed your body faster with this, “trick.” I’m not sure how a gummy bear chocolate peanut butter banana protein shake might taste, but we might be on to something…

    Justin D'Ancona Philly.com Health
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