There are not many instances that I would recommend incorporating sugar into your diet, but there is a benefit in getting simple sugars into your system quickly post-workout.
While you are working out you are slowly depleting your muscle glycogen storages. Glycogen is important in delivering the energy you need to keep moving, lifting, etc. throughout your hour at the gym. When you start to feel fatigued either during or after your workout, that is a sign that you have run low on the available glucose in your blood.
To keep performing the way you want day after day, it is important to replenish those glycogen stores post-workout. One way to achieve this is by eating simple sugars (preferably paired with whey protein). Post-workout your blood is moving rapidly throughout your body. Exercise is a form of stress to your body, and once you have stopped putting it through your daily WOD it wants to send oxygenated blood to your tissues to basically make you able to function again. Simple sugar does not take your body much effort to break down for it to enter your blood stream. Because of this, it can get to your tissues quickly to start refueling the glycogen storage you just depleted.
These are items I recommend if you are looking to incorporate sugar into your post-workout routine:
· Gummy bears or sour patch kids (basically any type of “gummy” candy)
· Coconut water
· Any type of fruit juice
The catch to all of this is you shouldn’t sit on the benches after class and slam an entire bag of gummy bears. The serving size you should have is dependent on your goals and the type of eating lifestyle you are currently following.
I generally have one serving of whey protein mixed with 30g of dextrose as a post-workout shake most mornings, along with 3 gummy bears. You may be surprised at how much sugar is in just a few of those bad boys! If I am working out at night, I have less sugar than that. Sugar does spike your insulin levels, and I don’t particularly want that flying high too late into my evening.
The next time a friend offers you a post-workout gummy, enjoy every bite! Your muscles will thank you later.