I've recently taken up training for cycling quite intensively, and I was wondering what would be the fastest way of replenishing my glycogen stores before the next day's workout?

I've drawn up a tentative list of carbohydrate food sources below:

  • Fruits: Bananas, apples
  • Dried fruits: Dates, dried apricots, raisins, prunes, figs
  • Starchy vegetables: Potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, beets, butternut squash
  • Grains: Oats, rice, brown rice, risotto
  • Others: Pasta(s), white bread, wholemeal bread, tortillas
  • Liquids: Flavoured milks, honey, molasses, corn syrup (not HFCS) - (I'm also avoiding fruit juices)
  • Powdered: Dextrose

Some further questions:

  1. Low glycemic vs. high glycemic foods. Are lower glycemic foods equivalent in efficacy to comparatively higher glycemic food in replenishing glycogen stores? i.e. is brown rice equivalent to white rice in this regard?
  2. Timing. How does timing affect the uptake of glucose into muscles as glycogen? Would the most rapid way of replenishing glycogen be to concentrate carbohydrate intake immediately after a workout? Or is it okay to just eat a carbohydrate dense meal a few hours before a workout? Or is it better to disperse your carbohydrate intake throughout the day?
  3. Fructose vs. glucose. Many of the food sources I've listed above contain a combination of these sugars. Is it preferable to get your sugars from one or the other, in the context of efficient glycogen store replenishment?
  • 1
    The fastest would obviously be through liquids, the better question would be if it actually makes a difference to get the fastest vs fast. Also, fructose rich foods generally aren’t more than 50% fructose when considering the sugar content. I would assume that fructose isn’t going to be as helpful when it comes to filling glycogen stores since those are literally made up of glucose, but to what degree I’m not sure and with fructose rich foods having a lot of glucose, I’m just not sure it’s really preventing glycogen stores from filling back up in any meaningful way. Nov 18, 2020 at 1:37
  • 2
    Science has shown that a 3:1 carb to protein ratio is ideal for replenishing after endurance type workouts, Oddly, chocolate milks fits this almost exactly. When I have time I will dig up the study.
    – JohnP
    Nov 18, 2020 at 15:00


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.