An important goal of the athlete's everyday diet is to provide the muscle with substrates to fuel the training programme that will achieve optimal adaptation for performance enhancements. In reviewing the scientific literature on post-exercise glycogen storage since 1991, the following guidelines for the training diet are proposed. Athletes should aim to achieve carbohydrate intakes to meet the fuel requirements of their training programme and to optimize restoration of muscle glycogen stores between workouts. General recommendations can be provided, preferably in terms of grams of carbohydrate per kilogram of the athlete's body mass, but should be fine-tuned with individual consideration of total energy needs, specific training needs and feedback from training performance. It is valuable to choose nutrient-rich carbohydrate foods and to add other foods to recovery meals and snacks to provide a good source of protein and other nutrients. These nutrients may assist in other recovery processes and, in the case of protein, may promote additional glycogen recovery when carbohydrate intake is suboptimal or when frequent snacking is not possible. When the period between exercise sessions is <8 h, the athlete should begin carbohydrate intake as soon as practical after the first workout to maximize the effective recovery time between sessions. There may be some advantages in meeting carbohydrate intake targets as a series of snacks during the early recovery phase, but during longer recovery periods (24 h) the athlete should organize the pattern and timing of carbohydrate-rich meals and snacks according to what is practical and comfortable for their individual situation. Carbohydrate-rich foods with a moderate to high glycaemic index provide a readily available source of carbohydrate for muscle glycogen synthesis, and should be the major carbohydrate choices in recovery meals. Although there is new interest in the recovery of intramuscular triglyceride stores between training sessions, there is no evidence that diets which are high in fat and restricted in carbohydrate enhance training.
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