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.


Glyco Replenishment

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.


Carb Loading

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:

  1. how many days of carb depletion are required
  2. how many days of carb loading are required
  3. how much carbs should one consume during carb loading
  4. how to incorporate carb depletion without wasting muscles
  5. how to incorporate carb loading without gaining fat

Carb Depletion

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.

Carb Loading

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 wasting.

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.

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