T Nation

Glycogen, Lifting and Rest

I posted this in another thread, and it wasn’t really related to the topic at hand, so I’ll ask it here:

How can you “tell” if your glycogen stores are low?

I used to do a lot of endurance events, so if I “bonked” I knew it.

Now that I’m focusing on size and strength, my internal gauges aren’t quite adapted, and I’m not as self-aware I should be.

On the days I do squats/dead-lifts, I’m fried afterwords, but it feels different that “bonking”.

Because of my work schedule, I lift five days straight (alternating body parts), by the end of my lifting week (when I take two days off), I’m pretty wasted/tired.

Is there way to distinguish a good sense of fatigue vs. needing to “carb-up” and replace glycogen stores? (On lifting days I’m getting “around” 100g of carbs, around half that on my off days).

I’m one of those former fat bodies (from before the military and being an endurance athlete) who is always worried about too many carbs.

This is probably something that is very individual. Some people function fine on low carb diets and become “fat adapted” so muscle glycogen replenishment doesn’t really apply. There are also people who rely on muscle glycogen/carbs for fuel since fat is kept low. I’m also on a low carb diet. I get 150g CHO on lifting days and <50g on off/cardio days. Last night I nearly passed out/puked after legs and decided to add a second serving of carbs to my post workout meal. I feel much better today.

If you have a chance, search for “every other day refeeds.” Many people who are on VLC diets will eat 4-500g CHO after their workouts to replenish glycogen a couple times a week. If you have a lot of fat on your body still and aren’t eating sub-maintenance calories, you shouldn’t worry about losing LBM due to a lack of carbs/glycogen.

I’m mostly worried about not getting the most out of my lifting sessions because I am somewhat carbaphobic still.

[quote]Spartiates wrote:
I’m mostly worried about not getting the most out of my lifting sessions because I am somewhat carbaphobic still.[/quote]
Get over the phobia and eat or drink a few Carbs before your workout.

^^^ What he said. 1 carb = 4 kcal. 50 carbs is going to greatly benefit you and it’s only 200 measly cals. Carbs=energy for your workouts. If you feel sluggish for whatever reason maybe your phenotype is more suited by higher fat and lower carb or you just need a good old stimulant to increase energy.

I’ve been upping the carbs pre-workout. Like I said in my first post, I’m getting some carbs: I want to make sure I get enough.

What I’m wondering is, is there any way to tell if the “tired” I’m feeling is good fatigue caused by working hard, or unnecessary fatigue resulting from not getting enough carbohydrate/depleted glycogen.

Is there a qualitative difference in the way it feels?

Do you just have to err on the side of “get tons of carbs before lifting”?

As stated, this may be highly individual thing, but I use weight and feeling as tools. If my morning weight is 4-5 lbs lower than normally, without some carbo loading or peri-workout carbs, my training is definitely going to suck. Speed, power, endurance, etc. are just not there. Before training I tend to feel sluggish, and even during the day I am not able to concentrate as well as normally.

So my thinking sucks as well. I’ll guess I’m one of those who do not seem to adapt that well to use purely fat as fuel. So, I’ll use those to evaluate whether my carbo reserves are full enough. Feeling after training does not allways work as if the session is intense and long enough, you will deplete glycogen stores.

Highly specific to any individual, so there is no real answer to this question. Machines could probably help you determine but the most practical way of determining whether your stores are low if just by judging your overall feeling (be sure to include the mental aspect, not just the physical).