Stage Three: Fueling After

When it comes to fueling after a ride, our primary objective is to restore muscle and liver glycogen by consuming carbohydrates.

This process of turning fuel into glycogen is called “glycogen synthesis” [1].

Whatever stage of fueling you’re in, the type of carbohydrate you consume can impact the rate of glycogen synthesis; this brings us to a few terms that factor into “best practice” guidelines for after-ride fueling [1]. First up is the glycemic index or “GI”.

Glycemic Index (GI)

A food’s “GI” is defined by the amount it increases blood glucose and insulin after consumption. In general terms, the higher the GI, the more rapidly a carbohydrate is available as fuel to the body.

If you’re aiming to refuel as quickly as possible, choosing moderate to high glycemic index foods are your best option [12].

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Guide Index:


  1. Jeukendrup, A.E. and M. Gleeson, Sport nutrition. 2019.
  2. Krogh, A. and J. Lindhard, The Relative Value of Fat and Carbohydrate as Sources of Muscular Energy: With Appendices on the Correlation between Standard Metabolism and the Respiratory Quotient during Rest and Work. Biochem J, 1920. 14(3-4): p. 290-363.
  3. Brooks, G.A., IMPORTANCE OF THE ‘CROSSOVER’ CONCEPT IN EXERCISE METABOLISM. Clinical and Experimental Pharmacology and Physiology, 1997. 24: p. 889-895.
  4. Bergström, J. and E. Hultman, Synthesis of muscle glycogen in man after glucose and fructose infusion. Acta Med Scand, 1967. 182(1): p. 93-107.
  5. Sherman, W.M., et al., Effect of exercise-diet manipulation on muscle glycogen and its subsequent utilization during performance. Int J Sports Med, 1981. 2(2): p. 114-8.
  6. Sherman, W.M. and D.L. Costill, The marathon: dietary manipulation to optimize performance. Am J Sports Med, 1984. 12(1): p. 44-51.
  7. Thomas, D.T., K.A. Erdman, and L.M. Burke, Position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Dietitians of Canada, and the American College of Sports Medicine: Nutrition and Athletic Performance. J Acad Nutr Diet, 2016. 116: p. 501-528.
  8. Hargreaves, M., J.A. Hawley, and A. Jeukendrup, Pre-exercise carbohydrate and fat ingestion: effects on metabolism and performance. J Sports Sci, 2004. 22(1): p. 31-8.
  9. Jeukendrup, A.E. and S.C. Killer, The myths surrounding pre-exercise carbohydrate feeding. Ann Nutr Metab, 2010. 57 Suppl 2: p. 18-25.
  10. Cornford, E. and R. Metcalfe, Omission of Carbohydrate-rich breakfast impairs evening 2000-m rowing time trial performance. European Journal of Sport Science, 2018: p. 1-8
  11. Miall, A., et al., Two weeks of repetitive gut-challenge reduce exercise-associated gastrointestinal symptoms and malabsorption. Scandinavian journal of medicine & science in sports, 2018. 28: p. 630-640.
  12. Burke, L.M., et al., Carbohydrates for training and competition. Journal of Sports Sciences, 2011. 29: p. 17-27.
  13. Atkinson, F.S., K. Foster-Powell, and J.C. Brand-Miller, International tables of glycemic index and glycemic load values: 2008. Diabetes Care, 2008. 31(12): p. 2281-3.
  14. Kuipers, H., et al., Carbohydrate feeding and glycogen synthesis during exercise in man. Pflugers Arch, 1987. 410(6): p. 652-6.