Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Glycogen the hidden key to fat burning and muscle building

What is Glycogen?

In Simple terms, it is stored energy in our muscles and liver for the purpose of muscle energy. In fact muscle glycogen doesn't even have to be converted to glucose to be used.
Glycogen is our body's Premium Workout Fuel.

Glycogen is extremely important to athletes, runners, and anyone trying to lose weight with diet and exercise. One of the tricks have have picked up over the years was training my body to be efficient at re-storing glycogen while dieting. Remember calories are energy, we input and output energy just like a machine. Calories are our fuel and they make us move just like the gas in your car. When we are in a constant calorie deficit our body will use up all of the calories we eat, then use up our glycogen, and burn our unwanted bodyfat.  This all sounds great, but having depleted glycogen makes for very inefficient workouts.

Enter the Spike Day,

There are many advantages to having a Spike Day, but one of my favorite benefits is my body is able to store the extra calories I eat that day back into my glycogen stores. I noticed early on that the day after my Spike Day I am a few reps stronger, and I have a lot more energy to get through a tough workout. Over the past year this has allowed me to make awesome strength and muscle gains while still burning bodyfat.

I think Glycogen can make or break a workout program, and because of that I will be spending a lot of time researching and blogging about this very important molecule.

  • Glycogen is the main reason we have drastic weight drops and weight gains. I'm talking like 2-5 pounds in a day. It's all water weight, a gram of glycogen is tied to 3-4 grams of water. So as you deplete glycogen you lose water weight, as when you re-store it you gain water weight. DON'T WORRY ABOUT WATER WEIGHT.
  • Remember it takes 3,500 calories of a surplus to gain one pound of bodyfat. 
  • Think about it, if you really gain 3 pounds in a day you would have to have had 9,500 calories above what you burned during the day. Or around 12,000 calories. 
  • A gallon of water weighs OVER 8 pounds.
  • If it makes you feel better weigh yourself only once a week, and on the same day and time.
  • Do not stop eating after 4pm, even 7pm. This is completely ridiculous. Do we forget we are about to be fasting for several hours while we sleep? If you are eating right, and sticking to a calorie limit it does NOT matter when you eat. I'd even say it's better to eat more later.  It provides energy through the night and the following day.
In conclusion don't worry about the scale, in the long term if you are eating right and exercising the weight will be coming off, BUT do not get too excited or too upset when you have those weeks when you gain a few pounds or lose several.

Water Weight is the King of the Scale.

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