Glycogen and Bodybuilding

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Muscle Glycogen Supercompensation

If you are unaware of what it is, muscle glycogen supercompensation is a technique to enhance performance of the muscles. For a further breakdown of this approach, an expert view is best, as from Aerospace Physiologist Michael Provost in his research report “Glycogen Supercompensation Enhances Athletic Performance”. Provost notes:

“Bodybuilders benefit from glycogen supercompensation because each gram of glycogen is stored with 3 grams of water; therefore a doubling in glycogen stores can increase the bodybuilder’s apparent muscle mass. Glycogen supercompensation is probably of little use to power athletes since fatigue in these events is not related to glycogen depletion and the weight gain may be a liability. Glycogen supercompensation occurs only when a low carbohydrate diet is combined with vigorous exercise followed by a high carbohydrate diet. Glycogen supercompensation occurs only in muscles that were trained and is maximal at a carbohydrate intake of approximately 25 grams per hour for average adults and possibly 40 grams or more per hour for bodybuilders.”

So there you have the parameters on how to stimulate the supercompensation. This is not just a dietary tool but rather a mix of dietary control with training to achieve the supercompensation post workout effect. The bottom line is that you use minimal carb intake before your training, then really load up on the carbs after the workout as the muscles are super hungry for the glycogen and use it most effectively, stuffing the muscles full of size after training.

This type of technique is best employed by those who have been training for some time and know how to gauge their energy levels to leave enough fuel in the tank to get through the workout on the minimal load.

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