Maintaining Fat Loss, Muscle Glycogen For Training

by Vince Andrich

I just got another question about glycogen (or stored carbs in muscle or liver) that asked;

Q: How do you know you’ve used up all your glycogen stores from a workout? When you fatigue and can’t get those last two reps up without help, does that mean you’re muscle glycogen stores are empty/low? I ask because I’m not sure exactly how much post workout gatorade powder to drink. I’m still about 20 lbs away from my goal and at this point I don’t want anything to hinder fat loss.

A: If you want make sure fat loss is still in play keep in mind that for best results your body has to switch gears post workout to refill glycogen and increase anabolic drive, which includes clearing waste products, delivering aminos, ATP, and glucose etc..

In the grand scheme post workout insulin release from glucose will up regulate your glucose burning ability and drop your fat burning rate slightly more than 50%
–so unless you really pig out you will be fine…

For more detail here is a small section of a book I wrote called No Mistakes with my buddy Rob Thoburn…

“The see saw aspect of this fuel-burning metabolism lies in the fact that carbohydrate (glucose) and insulin shift your body’s fuel-burning mixture toward glucose oxidation and away from fat oxidation (Flatt et al., 1985; Hussain et al., 1995). At a blood insulin level less than that found following a normal meal, the breakdown of body fat can be reduced by some 50% (Bonnadonna et al., 1990; Jensen et al., 1989; Swislocki et al., 1987).

But in the grand scheme of things this carbohydrate-induced suppression of your fat-burning metabolism will not necessarily make you fat. Remember that your body must undergo this metabolic shift at mealtime so that it can load your muscle cells with glucose (as glycogen) and stimulate them to oxidize it for energy. The priority of these metabolic events over those governing fat lies in the fact that your storage capacity for carbohydrate is much, much more limited.

So while eating carbohydrate will indeed prompt your metabolism to burn less fat temporarily, it will also cause it to store and oxidize that carbohydrate.”

On a side note if you want to be bigger and leaner, don’t skimp on your post workout carbs, just try to make sure you don’t keep insulin spike too long. Safe bets post workout are yams, brown rice and a bit if simple sugars (gatorade is cool).

© 2011 Vince Andrich Real BodyBuilding All Rights Reserved.