Males and Females Exhibit Similar Muscle Glycogen Recovery With Varied Recovery Food Sources

Eur J Appl Physiol. 2020 May;120(5):1131-1142. doi: 10.1007/s00421-020-04352-2. Epub 2020 Mar 25.

Abstract

Purpose: Research has elucidated the impact of post-exercise carbohydrate nutrition and environmental conditions on muscle glycogen re-synthesis. However, research has minimally considered the implications of glycogen recovery in females and has mostly focused on commercial sport nutrition products. The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of varied mixed macronutrient feedings on glycogen recovery and subsequent exercise performance in both sexes.

Methods: Males (n = 8) and females (n = 8) participated in a crossover study. Subjects completed a 90-min cycling glycogen depletion trial, then rested for 4 h. Two carbohydrate feedings (1.6 g kg-1) of either sport supplements or potato-based products were delivered at 0 and 2 h post-exercise. Muscle biopsies (glycogen) and blood samples (glucose, insulin) were collected during the recovery. Afterwards, subjects completed a 20 km cycling time trial.

Results: There was no difference between sexes or trials for glycogen recovery rates (male: 7.9 ± 2.7, female: 8.2 ± 2.7, potato-based: 8.0 ± 2.5, sport supplement: 8.1 ± 3.1 mM kg wet wt-1 h-1, p > 0.05). Time trial performance was not different between diets (38.3 ± 4.4 and 37.8 ± 3.9 min for potato and sport supplement, respectively, p > 0.05).

Conclusions: These results indicate that food items, such as potato-based products, can be as effective as commercially marketed sports supplements when developing glycogen recovery oriented menus and that absolute carbohydrate dose feedings (g kg-1) can be effectively applied to both males and females.

Keywords: Glycogen re-synthesis; Post-exercise recovery; Sex differences; Sports supplements.