December 12, 2012 | G.R. Hoff
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Post-workout drinks are becoming more and more popular, and for good reason: your body is primed and ready to take the nutrients you ingest and use them to begin repairing your "starving" muscles. What many don't know, however, is that taking dextrose post-workout can maximize your gains and help you get the most out of this all-important post-workout window.
Here are my top 3 reasons you should be taking dextrose post-workout.
Dextrose is a fast-digesting simple sugar
Translation: fast refueling for you and your just-worked muscles.
Every time you train, your body uses glycogen as fuel. Think of it as carbohydrate gasoline for your body. By the end of your session, your fuel tank is (at best) close to empty. Dextrose is an extremely fast-digesting sugar that helps you refill your tank as fast as possible.
Dextrose spikes nutrient-shuttling hormones in a hurry
Getting quality nutrients and fuel to the muscles isn't a magical process that happens just because you eat something. A number of smaller reactions must occur to take the food you eat, break it down into digestible "units," and transport those units out of the digestive system for use by the body.
Insulin is a hormone that serves as the transportation system for nutrients—essentially taking them from the bloodstream to the muscles to start the recovery and rebuilding process. If nutrients in the bloodstream are the construction workers that are going to build up your muscle tissue, insulin is the bus that gets them from home in the bloodstream to work in the muscles!
Because dextrose is an extremely fast-digesting simple sugar, it raises blood glucose levels quickly, causing a rapid spike in nutrient-transporting insulin into the bloodstream. (Find out how you can also use nutrient timing to release insulin.)
Staying with the construction analogy, dextrose speeds up the bus, getting the workers to the work site as fast as possible, whereas a slower digesting carbohydrate would get them to the muscles site much more slowly. After a workout, athletes need to start the rebuilding process asap, and dextrose helps it happen about as quickly as it gets.
No hype: dextrose is safe and affordable
Walking through a supplement store these days is confusing at best. The walls are lined with products and compounds of all colors, shapes, and sizes; and the claims on the labels are often too good to be true. Dextrose is simply a specific type of sugar that causes a more rapid insulin spike (and is digested easier) than things like sucrose (table sugar) and fructose (fruit sugar). Given the lack of hype surrounding using a simple sugar as a dietary supplement, dextrose is reasonably priced compared to many other supplements available today. You can typically find a 10-pound tub of dextrose, which will last for months, for $20 or less. Plus, you have the added benefit of buying simplicity. Instead of a 10-page-long list of ingredients like artificial compounds and dyes, you see one word: dextrose.
The easiest way to use dextrose post-workout is to add it to your shake, 1.5 to twice the number of grams of protein. So if you're taking 1.5 scoops of whey protein (approximately 30 grams), add 45 to 60 grams of dextrose. Toss in a dash of cinnamon, and you'll have a tasty post-workout drink built for speed of recovery and, ultimately, performance results.