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Caffeine and exercise recovery

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Australian scientists have shown that post-exercise caffeine boosts muscle glycogen recovery. In this double blinded crossover controlled study, it was shown that post exercise ingestion of high dose caffeine and high glycemic carbohydrates (i.e., fast sugars) results in 66% greater glycogen repletion! 

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In fact, the authors concluded that the augmented rate of glycogen repletion observed in their study was the highest ever reported in humans under normal physiological conditions. In addition the researchers noted that throughout a 4h recovery period, those who ingested caffeine with carbohydrate had much higher levels of insulin and blood glucose, a potent signal for anabolic drive.  It is common knowledge that consuming fast sugars immediately after training significantly boosts muscle glycogen recovery; however, this study provides the first evidence that a cocktail of caffeine and carbohydrates has an additive effect on rates on post-exercise muscle glycogen accumulation compared to carbohydrate only recovery drinks.

Pedersen DJ, Lessard SJ, Coffey VG, Churchley EG, Wootton AM, Ng T, Watt MJ, Hawley JA. High rates of muscle glycogen resynthesis after exhaustive exercise when carbohydrate is coingested with caffeine. J Appl Physiol. 2008 Jul;105(1):7-13. Epub 2008 May 8.