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Glycogen – how does it affect your workouts?

4 min read

Sports result depends on the nutrition of an athlete. Products should help recuperate after a workout, and the trace elements contained in them should be easily digested and not become unnecessary surpluses. Fast carbohydrates, which are slimming and athletes on drying, are very cautious. But the complex carbohydrate glycogen deserves special attention, since it affects both the well-being of the athlete and the productivity of the workout.

Concept and functions

Glycogen is a polysaccharide that contains glucose molecules. It can also be called neutralized sugar, which enters the blood only when necessary. The whole cycle of the body with this substance resembles a kind of circulation. The athlete takes food. Glucose enters the blood. The body takes the right amount of sugar and stores the excess in the form of glycogen. During exercise, glucose levels are reduced. The body breaks down glycogen and injects it into the blood. Glucose returns to normal.

Glycogen store muscle and liver. The first ones contain about 300-400 g of glycogen (this value depends on the degree of preparation of a particular person). Liver cells accumulate only 100-120 grams, this is enough to maintain vital activity throughout the day. The remaining glycogen stores are in muscle tissue (approximately 1 percent of the total muscle). It supports the work of the musculoskeletal system and the cardiovascular system.

The athlete takes food

Recovery and Prevention

Glycogen is actively consumed with a large physical exertion or a long sitting on a carbohydrate-free diet. Muscle glycogen stores are reduced during intensive strength training. If the supply of glycogen is depleted, it can be restored. To do this, you need to diversify the diet with glycogen-containing products (fruit juices, fresh fruit, honey, dark chocolate and dried fruits). The minimum portion is 100 g, but it can be increased if you have to recover from a hard workout, intense mental work or a strict diet.

Nutritionists advise not to bring themselves to exhaustion, but to replenish glycogen stores in a timely manner. For example, you should eat foods rich in carbohydrates before exercise. This replenishes the reserve, prevents the onset of fatigue and increases the productivity of classes. About half an hour after a workout, you should eat any glucose product. During this period, it is easily absorbed and penetrates the cells, which increases the activity of glycogen synthase, the main enzyme that is responsible for promoting and storing glycogen. This phenomenon in the rocking chair is also known as the protein-carbohydrate window.

Juice contains glycogen

Excess deficiency

Initially, the glycogen depot is small and provides only locomotor activity. It increases only through regular intensive training a few months after the start of classes. Muscles are filled with blood, cells grow, due to their growth increases glycogen depot. Glycogen enters the bloodstream when the pulse rate exceeds 80 percent of the maximum heartbeat. Glycogen has no effect on the growth of physical strength, and the glycogen depot is increased by multiply training that develops endurance.

Determining a sufficient amount of glycogen is not difficult. If at workouts there appears a desire to move the mountains, and the muscles look voluminous, everything is in order with a store of energy. Depression, apathy, unwillingness to exercise, decreased concentration and exposure to cold are signals of lack of glycogen. An increase in body weight and intestinal malfunction may indicate an excess of this enzyme. If signs of excess or lack of glycogen are present, it is necessary to correct the diet. If necessary, consult a doctor.

muscle volume after training

weight loss and weight

First of all it should be said about the effect of glycogen on body weight. The body stores this polysaccharide in the amount of 400 grams, for 1 gram of glucose there are 4 grams of water. Consequently, per 400 grams of a complex carbohydrate accounts for 2 kilograms of an aqueous solution of glycogen. During intense exercise, the body expends energy and loses four times more fluid (this is what sweating looks like). Likewise, nutritionists explain the lack of results of express diets for weight loss.

A carbohydrate-free diet depletes glycogen and body water. The weight goes away. But it is necessary to return to the old diet, the weight returns again. This happens because the body seeks to replenish the reserves of enzymes.

To avoid this, you need to calculate the daily need for calories and pick up physical activity, which will contribute to the consumption of glycogen.

For example, in an hour of strength or cardio training, the body spends 100-150 grams of glycogen. When he burns this stock, the destruction of muscle fibers and adipose tissue will begin. So the body will receive the necessary energy. To get rid of extra centimeters at the waist, you need to engage in physical activity in the morning and on an empty stomach. Glycogen stores are already depleted, and to maintain muscle should be taken BCAA.

If the task is to build muscle mass, you should take care of a sufficient amount of glycogen before and after physical exertion. Otherwise, you have to bury the dream of a beautiful body. But you should not load yourself with carbohydrates just before training. Initially, you should eat one hour before the start of classes, and then this interval should be systematically increased. This will teach the body to economically use the received energy. It is on this principle that the system of interval starvation, which contributes to a set of muscle mass without fat deposits, acts.

In some cases, glycogen does not break down into separate enzymes. As a result, it accumulates in the tissues and cells of all organs. This phenomenon is called glycogenesis – a genetic disorder in which elements that break down substances do not function. Such a violation is known as aglycogenesis, when there is no enzyme responsible for the synthesis of glycogen. In normal life, these disorders may not be felt, but before the start of intensive workouts you should consult with your doctor about the upcoming workloads and nutrition plan.


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