Glyco Replenishment [Carb Loading]
Glycogen & Muscles
Glycogen stores in the muscle positively affect the
muscle’s capacity to generate energy and sustain
intense performance. Individuals with high muscle glycogen
have a higher capability for energy expenditure than
these with low muscle glycogen.
During endurance or intense exercise the muscles can
be depleted of glycogen stores, leading to a loss of
strength, speed, velocity and the capacity to resist
fatigue; unless the glycogen is restored.
Glycogen replenishment is a key to full muscle recuperation
from prolonged or intense exercise. This method is commonly
known as carb loading and is used by all endurance athletes.
When muscles are depleted of glycogen they are more
receptive to higher amounts of glycogen than they would
normally uptake. This means that by triggering this
overassimilation, the athlete can overload the muscles
with glycogen, giving them more time before the muscles
are once again depleted.
This common glycogen restoring method involves:
- 2-3 days of carbs depletion using a very low carb
diet, followed by
- 1-2 days of carb loading using a high carb diet.
The goal of carb loading is to pump maximum glycogen
into the muscle tissues just before the event, giving
maximum stamina, and increased competitive edge.
Carb Loading in Body Building
Carb loading for bodybuilders is quite difficult.
You need to know:
- how many days of carb depletion are required
- how many days of carb loading are required
- how much carbs should one consume during carb loading
- how to incorporate carb depletion without wasting
- how to incorporate carb loading without gaining
During intense weight training, the muscle loses its
initial glycogen storage within 10-30 minutes, depending
on the level of pre-exercise glycogen stores and intensity
of the workout.
Glycogen is the main fuel for fast muscle fibers used
in strength, speed, and velocity movements. It is more
rapidly depeleted during weight training and sprinting
than during moderately paced distance running. A bodybuilder
or an athlete could easily lete initial muscle glycogen
stores within 10 minutes or a 30-60 minute workout.
Immediately following intense exercise, the muscles
are at peak capacity to replenish glycogen stores. The
bodybuilders and strength athlete can take advantage
of this using glycogen replenishment meals within only
a few hours. The net rate of glycogen resynthesis is
highest in the first 30 minutes of recovery, and then
it significantly decreases by 62% throughout the remaining
4.5 hours of recovery.
Sequence of Recovery Meals
Every 60 minutes right after exercise a meal consisting
of 25-30g of carbs and 15-30g of protein should be consumed.
Four small recovery meals can provide 100-120g carbs
for glycogen loading to the muscle tissue within 3-4
hours— with a bonus of up to 120g of amino acids.
Using small meals, one can avoid insulin spikes, which
trigger undesirable fat gain. If carb loading is done
too long or too late, one may get fat or stay flat.
Muscle initial glycogen loss averages between 300-500
calories [ 80g-120g] within 30-60 minutes of intense
exercise. The above recovery meal sequence is sufficient
to provide a substantial glycogen loading, with a full
explosive muscle performance.
Glycogen Cycling Method
It is still uncertain as to the effects of carb depletion
and carb loading on muscle gain or fat gain. Bodybuilders
and strength athletes cannot use the same glycogen loading
methods as endurance athletes. A few days of carb depletion
may be too restrictive, leading to loss of muscle mass
and strength. Instead, shorter cycles of glycogen depletion-loading,
on a day in, day out basis.
Day One - Low Carb – no exercise.
Increase fat consumption on this day to avoid muscle
Day Two – Carb Loading –
post exercise. Small recovery meals, as above.
This glycogen loading cycle method helps reduce the
risk for fat gain often associated with a prolonged
period [2-3 days] of carb loading. Prolonged and frequent
carb feeding may cause over secretion of insulin [hyper-insulinaemia].
Leading to insulin resistance and a myriad of metabolic
problems, including an undesirable fat gain.
Recommended Body Building Support Products.
Maintaining the correct balance of protein and amino
acids in the muscle tissue both during and in the 48
hours following intense workout is essential to fast
recovery and maximising muscle building returns.