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You raise a very important concern. Muscle glycogen is the primary fuel of exercise. Over 80% of energy (ATP) demands during weight training exercise are met by muscle glycogen. Just one workout can deplete muscle glycogen stores by up to 40%. Lifting weights with low muscle glycogen stores results in muscle weakness, decreased work capacity and the inability to produce maximal force. Therefore, training with low muscle glycogen stores virtually guarantees poor results from weight training.
However, even though many athletes train while following a calorie-restricted diet for much of the year, they can still achieve maximum glycogen storage in their muscles if they adhere to a few simple rules.
Firstly, it comes down to nutrient-timing; certain types of carbohydrates muscle glycogen storage better than others when consumed at precise times of the day. That’s why I designed the The Anabolic Nutrient Timing Factor. An easy-to-follow, step-by-step guide on what to eat and when to muscle glycogen synthesis, enhance recovery and intensify the anabolic response to weight training.
Secondly, studies have shown that supplementation with 8 grams of after exercise will enhance glycogen storage. The combination of glutamine and 20-40 grams of glucose works even better. That’s why I always recommend at least 5-10 grams of GL3 before or after every Max-OT workout.
Finally, another study has shown that supplementation with the branch chain amino acids (BCAA) close to exercise not only helped to promote better muscle glycogen re-synthesis, this strategy also ensured better fat metabolism after exercise. However the dose of free form amino acids used in this study would prove too costly for most athletes on a daily basis. Thankfully there is a much more efficient and effective way to obtain the exact same high dose of these amino acids.