Everyone of us training Jiu Jitsu wants to increase our level of physical performance. While “technique over strength” reigns supreme, being stronger and having more cardio or “gas” than our opponent sure does help. There’s no question that the primary energy source for BJJ training is carbohydrates – in the form of blood sugar (glucose) and stored carbohydrate (glycogen located in the muscle tissue and liver). It has been shown in numerous studies that maintaining an optimal blood glucose level and carbohydrate (CHO) oxidation rate during exercise can delay exhaustion, and that CHO intake before and/or during exercise can help to prolong the duration of exercise performance. No question about it – as decades of research will attest.
In addition, fluid balance in the body also plays a critical role in maintaining peak athletic performance. The water eliminated in sweat comes from the blood, and intracellular and interstitial pools, and causes a reduction in circulatory capacity, cooling and exercise efficiency. Again, loads of studies have shown that fluid loss of only 2% of body weight decreases endurance performance and that a loss of 4-5% could result in impairment of physiologic functions. And that’s not to mention the loss or imbalance of electrolytes (sodium, potassium, calcium and magnesium) which is linked to muscle weakness and cramping.
As a result, sports drinks have flooded the market containing carbohydrates and electrolytes in various ratios and concentrations. A key question to ask yourself when considering any supplement is “why are you taking this?” In the case of sports drinks there may be two main answers:
1) to replenish carbohydrates and rebuild glycogen in the muscle tissue faster in the recovery phase after today’s workout to perform optimally tomorrow or,
2) to replenish blood sugar (glucose) and electrolytes during an event (such as a multi-fight tournament) to prolong peak performance.
No matter what your reason, the speed and efficiency of carbohydrate absorption is key. If you are looking at a post workout recovery formula you could, in theory, tolerate a slower absorption rate as you have until the next workout (tomorrow) to recovery and replenish muscle glycogen. But in the case of carbohydrate replenishment speed and efficiency of absorption are one in the same. Studies prove that glycogen replenishment can happen most rapidly within 30 minutes of depletion and even then it happens most rapidly at the beginning of that window. The goal is to shove as many carbs into the bloodstream and muscle cells to replenish and maximize both glycolysis (energy for anaerobic pathways), the Kreb’s cycle (energy for aerobic pathways) and all the steps between the two.
In the case or during event performance support, absorption is doubly important. You need rapid absorption and at the same time need to avoid causing any fluid or electrolyte shifts which can cause cramping. This is even more important if you have cut to make weight or intentionally dehydrated.
Gastric (stomach) emptying is critical to getting the carbs into the blood stream and into cells. If the sports/carbohydrate/replenishment drink is too concentrated, the body must first draw water into the gut so that the carbs can then be absorbed (so as to reduce concentration allowing absorption to occur).
This creates a “functional” dehydration whereby water is reduced in the vascular tree (arteries and veins) and also to muscle tissue. Therefore the relative concentration of electrolytes increases. This exacerbates any IMBALANCE between electrolytes which can be a cause of cramping.
Gaspari Nutrition has developed a new, cutting edge product “Glycofuse” which they report has the lowest osmolarity (concentration) as compared to 8 other top brand competitors. This means that the carbs and electrolytes are absorbed very quickly into the blood stream. Through a proprietary technology, GlycoFuse ensures a low osmolality to achieve a balance which means a faster gastric clearance to deliver pure highly branched cyclic dexrin to athletes looking for a clinically studied carbohydrate for their high performance power, glycogen loading, and endurance needs.
For more information click on http://www.gasparinutrition.com/products/glycofuse/