The purpose of exercise is to place stress upon the body in order to create a physiological adaptation. This adaptation is specific to the type of stress used and the particular system being stressed. While this is a simple concept to understand, what is not well understood is the fact that the stress is only the catalyst for the adaptation. The key to insuring that the adaption fully takes place is rest and recovery. So one way of thinking about this process is as a reaction which would look something like the following: system + stress + rest -> result (adaptation)
This concept has a huge impact on how we approach the way we train. If training intensely puts stress on our body which acts as a mechanism for adaptation and rest is when the adaptation takes place then we must make sure our rest is more than adequate to insure that the adaptation occurs completely. To do this we need to make sure we allow adequate time between training sessions as well as making sure we supply our body with the necessary supplies to create the desired adaptation. This is the reason why it is a must that you consume a post-workout meal that consists of both fast-digesting protein and carbohydrates. The best choice for post-workout protein is whey, which is widely used and easily obtained, but the more difficult task lies in finding an adequate post-workout carbohydrate. When selecting a post-workout carbohydrate we look at one factor “how fast does this sugar digest?”. The rate of digestion of a sugar is determined by the complexity of the sugars molecular structure. Less complex sugars being the faster-digesting sugars because the molecular structure of these sugars are small and the bonds between atoms are easily broken. Meaning that the best post-workout sugar is the one which is the most simplest in molecular structure. That title falls to Glucose. Glucose is a six carbon sugar with the chemical formula C6H1206.
This sugar is important in a number of different chemical process throughout the biological world, but the most important role being played in photosynthesis. Glucose itself is one of the most common sugars although there are few places where glucose exist by itself. Glucose is classified as a monosaccharide, the simplest class of sugars. But in most cases dietary carbohydrates or sugars are not just glucose, most dietary sugars are either formed using glucose as their building blocks, such as starch and glycogen, or by combining glucose with another monosaccharide, such as galactose, to form a disaccharide, in this case glucose and galactose form to create lactose the primary sugar in milk. This creates an issue when trying to find a source of carbohydrates that is primarily glucose to use as a post-workout supplement because although glucose can be derived from sugars such as lactose the bonding between two simpler sugars makes the sugar more complex and harder to breakdown at a molecular level. While this isn’t much of an issue for those that have the extra cash flow to invest in supplements such as Karbolyn or Waxy Maize, which function as synthesized alternatives to glucose, this does present an issue to those that want all the benefits of their training sessions without a fifty dollar investment. But fear not there exist a solution to this dilemma. This is the point in the story in which Dextrose enters the picture. Dextrose is probably most commonly recognized as an ingredient in a lot of different candy. But what is not widely known is that Dextrose is glucose. They are one in the same as far as chemical formula, interaction with in the body, and function all go. The only difference between the two has to do with the arrangement of the molecule in space with relationship to the x, y, and z axis’. Dextrose is the probably the biggest untapped post-workout supplement currently available and the best part is that it is easily supplied at a very low cost. I recommend using Wonka Bottle Caps as the choice form of Dextrose because Dextrose is the primary ingredient when producing this candy meaning you can get a large amount of sugar from a small amount of candy. It is also cost effective as most stores sell Bottle Caps by the box for about a dollar a box. Now I know some might be reading this will a lot of skepticism and saying “what? Eat sugar after I workout! That’s crazy!”, but I promise this practice is highly effective and I guarantee you will see an improvement in both recovery and time results achieved. If you consume Dextrose in the 20 minutes following completion of a workout the sugar will be digested absorbed into the bloodstream and carried to the areas of your body which require it the most and because you just finished destroying your muscles supply of stored glucose in the form of glycogen it will be your muscles that receive this sugar which they will use to replenish their stores of glycogen and an ensure the muscle is adequately reconstructed. The take home message here is if you aren’t using a post-workout carbohydrate you need to do so. If you are currently taking a post-workout carbohydrate consider comparing it to dextrose (glucose) in the categories of molecular simplicity, rate of digestion, and cost. And like the title says dextrose is the post-workout supplement you need to be using!