While carbohydrate is the body’s primary source of energy, the speed at which ingested food is available to the muscles as glycogen (energy) depends entirely on the type of carbohydrate. Fast release carbohydrates, also referred to as simple carbohydrates, convert to energy very quickly.
While we are often told to avoid simple carbohydrates, there are three primary occasions when they are actually an advantage:
Pre-training: It is too late to have a carbohydrate source that digests slowly as the training session will be finished long before the food is converted to energy. Fast release carbohydrates solve this issue, with an almost immediate supply of energy.
During training: As with pre-training, the only fuel source that can be used as energy during a session is fast release carbohydrates. They are ideal for particularly intense sessions, or sessions of a long duration.
Post-workout: When training has finished, this is an ideal time to replace the fuel that the body has used throughout the session. Fast release carbohydrates replace fuel as quickly as is possible. The increase in insulin levels that fast release carbohydrates result in, can help shuttle nutrients (including protein for muscle growth) into the muscles.