Your body stores carbohydrates in the form of glycogen in the liver and muscles. Depending upon the length of the workout, the body will pull energy from the glycogen reserves. You have enough glycogen stored for about 90 minutes to 3 hours as long as you start the workout with a “full tank.” For recovery, it is important to start the refueling process within 20 minutes of completing the workout, but the body seems most receptive to refueling up to 3 hours. For recovery, increase your carbohydrate intake to replenish glycogen stores. Consider a post-workout recovery drink with a 4:1 ratio (or 3:1) of carbohydrate to protein or if you prefer whole food eat some fruit (like an orange of banana), a bagel with peanut butter, or yogurt with fruit. Aim for about .55 g of carbohydrate per pound of body weight. For example, a 130-pound woman would need about 72 g or a 170-pound man would need about 94 g of carbohydrate. Go for a combination that is easy to digest (i.e., light on fiber) and therefore, easy on the belly.
Katina Sayers is the owner/operator of Katina’s Nutritional Coaching Corner. She has an extensive background in health and education that began with degrees in exercise physiology, health and physical education, community health, and culminating with a doctoral degree in curriculum and instruction. She completed an advanced certificate of study in Integrative Nutrition and Health Coaching from the renowned Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN) in New York City. For the last four years, she has worked one-on-one with clients, presented a multitude of nutrition topics for large and small audiences, contracted with businesses to implement worksite wellness initiatives, and currently manages day-to-day food service operations at a local non-profit agency, as well as directs activities related to nutrition and health. Katina can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.