Purpose of review: The primary focus of this brief review is to describe the effect of carbohydrate (CHO) supplementation alone or in combination with protein on two responses during postexercise recovery that are not specifically related to the usual emphasis on glycogen resynthesis; that is, rapid postexercise rehydration, and recovery from exercise-induced muscle damage.
Recent findings: Evidence from postexercise rapid rehydration studies suggests that the addition of CHO to a rehydration solution may increase the rate of fluid restoration compared with water placebo. Adding protein to a CHO solution may further accentuate the beneficial effects. An additional postexercise concern for active individuals is the development of postexercise muscle soreness, a response that is pronounced with novel, eccentric exercise. Ingestion of CHO supplements, especially those combined with protein may help to minimize the exercise-induced muscle damage that is accompanied by muscle soreness, and reduced muscle function.
Summary: The practical implications of these findings are that CHO supplementation, especially in combination with protein, can enhance the rate of recovery relative to fluid balance and muscle damage; thus, these nutritional interventions should be considered for purposes in addition to the usual focus on glycogen resynthesis.