Here’s how all of that works: Any activity you do, whether it's a brisk walk or a HIIT workout, if it raises your heart rate, increases your breathing, and involves muscle activity, it has a fueling need. Meaning, it requires sugar to fuel these activities.
The most common way the body spikes blood glucose is via stress hormones. Any workout that’s a little intense is likely to release adrenaline, which triggers cortisol and causes the body to leverage stored glycogen in the liver or muscles.
Do these spikes affect you negatively? Not really. In healthy individuals, there is an overall average blood glucose reduction in the 24 hours following the workout, which happens because the glucose consumption for the activity goes on longer compared to glucose production.
What is Gluconeogenesis?
Gluconeogenesis is a group of metabolic reactions which produces glucose from noncarbohydrate sources such as glycerol, lactate, pyruvate, and glucogenic amino acids, working towards maintaining blood glucose levels constant through a state of fasting.
During intense bouts of exercise, this can occur due to the breakdown of muscle protein, especially during the absence of carbohydrates (due to low intake/low storage/exercise duration or intensity).
Why Does Gluconeogenesis Occur During Exercise?
According to study athletes habitually following a low carbohydrate high fat (LCHF) diet would have higher rates of gluconeogenesis during exercise compared to those who follow a mixed macronutrient diet.
The three most common reasons behind glucose spikes during intense exercise are:
1. Lactic acid
The process of gluconeogenesis converts lactic acid into glucose and loops that glucose back to our muscles for fuel.
This is how our bodies provide our muscles with fuel when cycling oxygen is relatively tenuous, and glucose to our cells as the body usually does during general cardio exercises.
Our body releases adrenaline when we play sports or exercise, as part of the “fight or flight” response it’s known for.
It tells our liver to release stored glucose in the form of glycogen to provide the extra fuel it needs for the “fight” aspect that comes with the workout. This leads to a spike in blood sugar levels.
3. Fasted exercise
Exercising on an empty stomach can lead to a glucose spike, especially immediately after waking up. That’s because exercise can exacerbate the “dawn phenomenon”, wherein the liver releases stored glucose along with morning hormones to give the brain fuel in the early morning hours.
How Does Gluconeogenesis Affect During Exercise?
While gluconeogenesis isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it is important to keep an eye on it because it can provide an insight into what is happening in your body.
On your metabolic data, if you find yourself going hypoglycemic (low levels of blood sugar), then you may have not fuelled enough before, during or after your workout.
If you are someone who is on a low-carb diet or who is fasting, this spike could indicate that your macronutrient intake—the proportion of protein, carbs, and fat—might not be adequate.
It is important to get adequate proportions of macronutrients, especially on workout days, because they help you recover and make sure there are no negative effects lingering from the workout.
If you are an athlete or fitness enthusiast, you can prevent the loss of muscle protein with the right fuelling strategy.
Consuming enough carbs can help if you are training over extended periods of time at high intensity. Adequate protein intake could help in curbing the loss of muscle mass.
Anyone training fasted can benefit from consuming branch chain amino acids or essential amino acids which would help in muscle preservation and prevent muscle loss. The dosage will depend upon the individual goal, the intensity of the physical activity, age. We recommend having anywhere from 1 scoop i.e 10gm to 3 scoops i.e 30gm of either Corebolics Recore or Amino Fusion.