T Nation

Glycogen Depletion

I know if your glycogen is depleted, your workouts will suck. I have a “free day” every Sunday, so Monday’s are my best work-out days. But then Wednesday is so-so, and lately Friday is terrible. So my question is: Is glycogen dependant on carbs only, or total calories? Cuz I need to bump something up during the week to so I don’t come up short every Friday. Maybe JMB could shed some light on this?

I assume you’re on a very low-carb diet? Carbohydrates are the most important macronutrient ratio for glycogen storage but if you’re consuming a lot of protein your body can inefficiently convert the protein into glycogen. This is why the high fat diet is high fat instead of high protein. If you’re on a low calorie diet your glycogen levels will still become depleted and your energy will suffer although not to the extent as the low carb variety. On the Bodyopus diet I know Duchaine recommended some carbs (about 30-50 grams) just before Friday’s workout to kick the body temporarily out of ketosis and give you some mental and physical energy to get through the workout. Another thing you might want to try is adding some MCT oil to your diet. MCT’s are fast acting fats and can greatly help with your energy level while still being considered a fat.

certain evidence suggest that monday, being the beginning of the week, is always the most energized simply due to the hectic nature of the particular day. Likewise, friday is commonly assosciated with the weekend and relaxation, thus your workouts are more tedious

VCreed: I agree with Kelly’s post. I’d like to add, though, that gluconeogenesis (the conversion of protein to glucose in the liver) cannot adequately replenish muscular glycogen levels, at least not enough to provide for an effective workout. As Kelly notes, if you want such a workout, you may need to add some carbs into your diet (although I personally think that adding carbs pre-workout tends to do more harm than good). You might try increasing your daily (complex) carb intake a bit at a time until you find the point where your Friday workouts don’t suffer so much.

Actually, I’m not on a very low carb diet, that’s why I’m trying to sort this out. I am eating about 290 grams on work out days, and 250-270g on non workout days. You think maybe my body type just calls for more carbs?

If you’re eating that many carbs then I imagine your problem is not total carbs but total intake of calories. You might just have a really fast metabolism and even a minor caloric deduction leaves you weak. You might try experimenting with raising your intake of fat and add some neural enhancing supplements to your diet…one dose of Power Drive and 1 or 2 MD-6 45 minutes before a workout does wonders.

If you are eating in the high 200’s for carbs and definately packing in a good postworkout shake and eating a good amount of carbs during the second meal after the post workout shake, then you diet is certainly not the problem. It may be a training problem like poor recovery between bodyparts. Or “overreaching”.

JMB- I only work out Mon-Wed-Fri, for about an hour. Plus, I’m not ever really sore, just no energy. FYI- I’m about 175lb, 10-12% BF(Tanita). Post work-out I use 1 1/4 serving surge(Which is great by the way), 2nd Post work out probably around 60g carbs, 40-50g pro. I eat about 2600 cal on a work out day. 56g fat, 290g carbs, 235g pro. Any more advice would be greatly appreciated.

Im relatively certain it’s not glycogen depletion unless you are a bicycle messenger in nyc by day or something. I really think it may be in the nature of the workout (fridays are just tougher than mondays - or if you are repeating body parts throughout the week) or maybe just something mental. Also one thing that might be hurting you is eating too many pre workout carbs. If you eat pre carbs it should be at least 2 hrs before training. Personally I eat protein and fat just before training.

JMB- I just realized something that pretty much confirms your initial reply that my recovery is the problem.(You were right, surprise, surprise). Weak Friday workouts have always been a problem, but they got downright horrible about 3 weeks ago. Which was the first week I started using the New Tribex formula without the ipriflavone(FGP). Since FGP’s main benifit is reducing cortisol, I guess poor recovery is indeed my problem. My workouts aren’t all that crazy. Mostly 3 working sets of 5, 4 exercises per day, 3 days per week. But, obviously, that’s too much for me. So in your opinion, what kind of workout/diet would you reccomend to someone with very poor recovery?(Damn).

You still havent answered my question…do you repeat bodyparts or exercises on workout days?..like you do train chest mwf or do exercises that work chest mwf? I dont think the tribex is the problem. Maybe your program isnt sound…why dont you post it?

OK John I’ll give you the run down on my program. (I really appreciate you helping me with this by the way.)
MON: Squats 3 sets of 5(same weight)
Bench Press 3 sets of 5(same weight)
Barbell Rows 3 sets of 5(same weight)
Bench Press Lockouts 3 singles(pyramid)
WED: Push Press 5 singles(Pyramid)
Seated OvHead D.Bell Press 3 sets of 5
Barbell Curls alternated with Lying Extentions 3 sets of 5(same weight)
FRI: Deadlifts 5 sets of 3(Pyramid)
D.Bell Bench Press 3 sets of 5(same weight
Weighted W.Grip Chins 3 sets of 5(same)
Bottom Pos Bench Press 3 singles(Pyramid)

OK, that's it. I've used the higher rep(6-10) approach in the past, but seemed to suffer worse recovery problems. Plus, I tend to enjoy the heavy weights. Also, by weeks end, it's not just training that suffers. I feel generally worn down, low-sex drive, the whole nine yards. This has been plaguing me for a LONG time. So, I'll take all the advice you can offer.

As I suspected, you should have posted this from the start. You’re training most bodyparts each and every training day. Youre smashing the CNS with the low reps and presumably high load 3 x per week. Then you virtually smash the same bodyparts each time. You could have CNS recovery problems or local muscular recovery. Try reading my appetite column from a few issues back on recovery. Employ the recovery strategies for a few weeks. If that doesnt work then change your program splitting the body up so that you only hit 1 body part 1x per week. Some can handle this type of workout that you are doing. Others cant. Improve your recovery and you may be able to. If not, change the program.

Ok John. I’ll definitly check your article out, and work on my recovery. Thanks again for your help.