My kind of recovery

It's been something of a typical afternoon here at the office. A second cup of coffee washing down a couple of bits of carbs from that coffee and donut shop across the street, a few hours after eating a lunch that contained a heaping helping of noodles.

Those carbs and that caffeine help me get ready for that commute home — a 13-kilometre or so run along Toronto's waterfront.

Caffeine and carbs - people much smarter than me say – will help me get through intense exercise and maybe even help me avoid developing skin cancer.

Caffeine, the science explains, offers the athlete the same boost as it does every sleepy-eyed person who tries to drag him or herself out of bed on a Monday morning. And carbs are what fuels your muscles.

Turns out I may have it all backwards.

A new study suggests that caffeine and carbs may be a better combination after your workout. Helps the body recover and get ready for your next exercise session, say Australian researchers.

They studied a small group of cyclists and found that four hours after an intense workout, the athletes who had ingested caffeine beverages had higher levels of blood glucose and insulin, as well as 66 per cent more glycogen, than those who drank a carb-only beverage. The caffeinated drink had caffeine levels equal to five or six cups of coffee.

"If you have 66 per cent more fuel for the next day's training or competition, there is absolutely no question you will go farther or faster," the study's senior author, Dr. John Hawley, said in a release.

The study did not explain how caffeine helps the muscles absorb more glycogen.

This could explain why you'll sometimes come across groups of runners or cyclists in your local coffee shop late on any given Sunday morning. It's the day of the week most of them prefer for their longest runs or rides. And sitting with your friends over a cup or so of java seems to help ease any lingering aches and pains from pushing your body more than usual.

And perhaps by adding something loaded with carbs to that post-run routine, I'll have enough energy — once I get home — to make it to the backyard and my hammock for a proper recovery.