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Building Glycogen Energy Stores Is Critical To Getting The Most Out Of Your Exercise Routines

Submitted by Teo Graca | RSS Feed | Add Comment | Bookmark Me! print

Resting the mind and body is critical to effective workouts. Exercise in any form reduces stress, but let's go the extra mile and examine techniques used by athletes to get the most out of their workouts, including diet to affect your glycogen energy stores, which is critical, but not well known among beginners.

Meditation and prayer focuses your mind on the moment and leads to a more effective workout. Perfecting your technique for every exercise is only possible by focusing on the moment. Every Breath, perfectly executed, is critical to getting the most out of your efforts, so learn to focus on the moment and avoid distractions.

I always push strength circuit training because it has the benefits of both aerobic and strength training with the same amount of effort - twice the good for the same amount of time and effort. Muscular strength and endurance lasts longer than aerobic fitness alone. Muscles retain a memory of exercises for weeks or even months, and for every 10 pounds of muscle you gain, your body burns an extra 500-700 calories each day - great if your goal is fat loss.

Vigorously exercising your body for at least 20 minutes, 3-5 times per week, not only improves your cardiovascular, respiratory and muscular function, it also helps you eliminate toxins from your body. There are issues with diet and getting enough rest, which I will cover here.

Although it is important to build rest days into your weekly routine, you may be surprised to learn that taking a few days or a full week off from training won't necessarily hurt the gains you've made. In fact, many serious exercisers and athletes regularly schedule a week off every 8-12 weeks to get more out of their workout routines. Balancing rest, diet and exercise is the key to getting the most out of your time and effort.

There are many strength training exercises available to work the same sets of muscles, so it is important to select those you enjoy and have fun doing. Choosing exercises you enjoy exponentially improves the benefits you experience. As you experiment and find what you like, remember that (like learning any new skill) at first it’s difficult, but over time it becomes second-nature.

It's important to eat before a workout and after a workout, and get plenty of fluids while you workout. This gives you the energy to perform better when you start and helps your body build muscle and store energy in the form of Glycogen - the best energy for endurance, general health and a clear mind.

Energy comes from carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are divided into simple and complex forms. Simple sugars (carbs) are absorbed and converted to energy very quickly and provide a rapid source of energy. Fruit and sports drinks are a good source of simple carbohydrates, but do nothing to build your long term energy storage.

Complex carbohydrates take longer to digest and absorb, but provide energy for hours instead of minutes. They exist in foods like brown rice (better for you than white rice) and sweet potatoes (better for you than white potatoes). Eating these types of foods gives you a slow and consistent supply of GOOD carbs that your body can use as needed.

According to Dan Benardot, author of Advanced Sports Nutrition, "Humans can store approximately 350 grams in the form of muscle glycogen, an additional 90 grams in the liver, and a small amount of circulating glucose in the blood. The larger the muscle mass, the greater the potential glycogen storage, but also the greater the potential need."

Other research indicates that maximum glycogen storage is approximately 15 grams per kilogram of body weight (15 grams per 2.2 pounds). For example, a 175-pound athlete could store up to 1200 grams of glycogen (4,800 calories), which could fuel high intensity exercise for quite some time.

Most athletes know the importance of eating before exercise to make sure glycogen levels are fully loaded. When and what you eat after exercise is just as important. The post-exercise meal is critical to muscle recovery and improves your ability to train consistently.

Fat helps fuel longer term activities, but glycogen is still needed to breakdown the fat into something the muscles can use. Carbohydrate stored as glycogen is an easily accessible source of energy for exercise. This energy supply can last anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes or more. To avoid running out of energy during exercise, start with full glycogen stores, replenish them during exercise (if you exercise for lengthy periods) and refill them after exercise to be ready for the next workout.

Lack of restful sleep can result in subtle changes in hormone levels, particularly those related to stress, muscle recovery and mood. Research indicates that sleep deprivation can lead to increased levels of cortisol (a stress hormone), decreased activity of human growth hormone (which is active during tissue repair), and decreased glycogen synthesis.

Eating 0.3-0.6 grams of carbohydrate for each pound of body weight within two hours of a workout is essential to building adequate glycogen stores. Waiting longer than two hours to eat results in 50 percent less glycogen stored in the muscle. The reason is that carbohydrate consumption stimulates insulin production, which aids the production of muscle glycogen.

Combining protein with carbohydrate within 30 minutes of exercise nearly doubles the insulin response, which results in more stored glycogen. The optimal carbohydrate to protein ratio for this effect is 4:1 (four grams of carbohydrate for every one gram of protein). Eating more protein than that, however, can have a negative impact because it slows rehydration and glycogen replenishment. Refueling with carbohydrate and protein provides twice the muscle glycogen stores than carbohydrate only.

Protein provides the amino acids necessary to rebuild muscle tissue during and after an intense, prolonged exercise. It increases the absorption of water from the intestines and improves muscle hydration. The amino acids in protein also stimulate the immune system, making you more resistant to colds and other infections.

While solid foods can work just as well as a sports drink, a drink is easier to digest and makes it easier to get the right ratio and meet the 30 minute window.

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