Do You Need to Replenish Glycogen Stores After Strength Training?
Some people suggest that during a typical strength training workout you don’t consume enough glycogen to be concerned about restoring it.
To that I say, WTF?
If you deplete ANY amount of muscle glycogen, you should be concerned with replacing it… especially if hypertrophy and strength are your main goals. Furthermore, glycogen is not the only reason why you should consume carbs, hormonal modulation should be too.
If an “expert” claims that people do not need to be concerned with replenishing glycogen then either their workouts do not contain enough sets and have wussy-like intensity, or they are not up to par with the scientific literature.
The scientific research on glycogen levels during strength training demonstrate that workouts ranging from 6 to 20 sets and lasting about 15-30 minutes in length lower muscle glycogen levels by about 30-40%.
Now for hypertrophy training, workouts are usually 24 to 36 sets, so a drop in glycogen in the order of 60 to 75% would be more likely, as the reps range would be 8 to 12, and the rest intervals 45 to 60 seconds, especially when pairing agonists with antagonists.
Not consuming enough carbs will limit your recovery not only from a glycogen standpoint, but also from an hormonal standpoint. Since the late seventies, we know that modifying the testosterone/cortisol ratio improves gains. Consuming carbs post-workout together with protein helps lower cortisol, which in turn improves the ratio, but also boosts protein synthesis. Hence you lower catabolism and increase anabolism at the same time.