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  1. #1
    ⒾⒾⒻⓎⓂ LEX-UA's Avatar
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    Glycogen Depletion.

    In the process of arguing with a friend on the topic of glycogen depletion, I realized that I understood the point I was trying to get across but not how to say it exactly. I'm not sure that I was right, of course..that's why I'm here. She randomly spouted out a few words in conversation that I simply couldn't let go. "Within 30 minutes of weight lifting, your glycogen stores are depleted." I stopped her right there, and told her she was wrong that it takes much longer than this. My understanding is as follows:

    Aerobic ATP production --> fatty acids, glucose, glycogen --> limiting factor for ATP = inadequate oxygen extraction, or in an endurance athlete's case, glycogen depletion.

    Anaerobic ATP production --> glucose, glycogen --> limiting factor for ATP = lactic acid buildup followed by muscle inhibition.

    Phosphagen system --> Creatine phosphate, stored ATP --> limiting factor for ATP = well, not much of either is stored in the muscle, maybe enough for ~10 second max effort.

    Glycogen depletion generally takes between 60-180 minutes. With that being said, I understand glycogen depletion in a marathon runner's case, but is it possible in other forms of exercise? Hypothetically speaking, if someone were to hold a 10lb bar and curl slowly (maybe 40-50% effort, low intensity, below region of anaerobic threshold) and consistently produced ATP aerobically, would glycogen depletion occur after 60-180 minutes? It seems to me that regardless to weight, whether it be 5, 10, or 20 lbs the muscle would begin to 'burn' after X amount of time, signaling lactic acid buildup. BUT lactic acid is a byproduct of ANAEROBIC ATP production and if one were to remain aerobic why would it be present?

    Also, given that weight lifting is generally an intense activity and lactic acid inhibits muscle contraction past a certain point, forcing a break, wouldn't it take hours to deplete glycogen?

    I think at this point I'm just confusing myself
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  2. #2
    Internet Pirate Opies's Avatar
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    60 minutes is awfully low.

    You don't want complete aerobic activity as that will promote the utilization of fatty acids, but you don't want anaerobic activity which will not use up enough glycogen. Typically when trying to deplete glycogen for say, a cyclic diet, the person will perform 2-3 hours of weightlifting split into two or three sessions (due to exhaustion /lactic acid buildup as you mentioned), and using the 12-20 rep range. Full body workouts would typically work best for this. Your friend is certainly wrong in suggesting glyocgen can be depleted within 30 minutes. In no circumstance is that possible. But the time does vary based on the intensity of workouts since glycogen depletion is based on rep/sets done, not time spent standing around in the gym. I think lyle mcdonald has a list of muscles and how much work they need to do to become glycogen depleted. Smaller groups like bis/tris/delts/calvesetc taking 10-12 sets while large muscles like quads might take up to 20 work sets to become depleted but I'm not too sure on those numbers
    Last edited by Opies; 03-07-2010 at 07:31 PM.
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  3. #3
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    I was training for a marathon a couple of years ago. My short runs were between 5-7 miles 3 times per week and my long runs were 13 and up.

    I was also doing starting strength at the same time.

    After a couple of months of this i was going for an 24 mile run and after about 16 miles i started feeling like i was running backwrads. I honestly felt like I was no longer moving forward and even though i was aware of what was going on i still didnt feel likle I was mpoving even though my legs were moving. There were no windows or anyhting to see my reflection in to verify it so i was left with just imagination.

    Then I started feeling like i was hunched over like an old lady and still not moving forward. After about a mile or two of this i decided to walk for a bit and get myself together.

    i sat down on the side of the trail and just broke down crying for no reason. Its not like I was sad or anyting, it just came over me.

    i must have been an odd sight to see.

    I sat for a few minutes and tried to get started again but the same backward feeling came over me again.

    I decided to walk the rest of the way.

    i had to walk 6 miles to get back to my car. It was far worse then running.

    Now thats what i would call glycogen depletion.
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  4. #4
    The BACKMAN DJAuto's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by LEX-UA View Post
    In the process of arguing with a friend on the topic of glycogen depletion, I realized that I understood the point I was trying to get across but not how to say it exactly. I'm not sure that I was right, of course..that's why I'm here. She randomly spouted out a few words in conversation that I simply couldn't let go. "Within 30 minutes of weight lifting, your glycogen stores are depleted." I stopped her right there, and told her she was wrong that it takes much longer than this. My understanding is as follows:

    Aerobic ATP production --> fatty acids, glucose, glycogen --> limiting factor for ATP = inadequate oxygen extraction, or in an endurance athlete's case, glycogen depletion.

    Anaerobic ATP production --> glucose, glycogen --> limiting factor for ATP = lactic acid buildup followed by muscle inhibition.

    Phosphagen system --> Creatine phosphate, stored ATP --> limiting factor for ATP = well, not much of either is stored in the muscle, maybe enough for ~10 second max effort.

    Glycogen depletion generally takes between 60-180 minutes. With that being said, I understand glycogen depletion in a marathon runner's case, but is it possible in other forms of exercise? Hypothetically speaking, if someone were to hold a 10lb bar and curl slowly (maybe 40-50% effort, low intensity, below region of anaerobic threshold) and consistently produced ATP aerobically, would glycogen depletion occur after 60-180 minutes? It seems to me that regardless to weight, whether it be 5, 10, or 20 lbs the muscle would begin to 'burn' after X amount of time, signaling lactic acid buildup. BUT lactic acid is a byproduct of ANAEROBIC ATP production and if one were to remain aerobic why would it be present?

    Also, given that weight lifting is generally an intense activity and lactic acid inhibits muscle contraction past a certain point, forcing a break, wouldn't it take hours to deplete glycogen?

    I think at this point I'm just confusing myself
    Glycogen reservoirs progressively lessen at the 30 minute mark, but there is no reason to believe that a individual who exercises will have maximal depletion at the 30 minute mark.

    See here: http://www.uoguelph.ca/hhns/grad/cou...lnickHuman.pdf.
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  5. #5
    ⒾⒾⒻⓎⓂ LEX-UA's Avatar
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    Thanks for the replies and the pdf. file. Very helpful.

    Crupiea- sounds like you hit a major wall.


    So, glycogen depletion can only occur through aerobic exercise, because one cannot train anaerobically long enough to do so (due to build up lactic acid and other waste)?
    Last edited by LEX-UA; 03-07-2010 at 09:10 PM.
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  6. #6
    lift, laugh, love mikevall's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by LEX-UA View Post
    Thanks for the replies and the pdf. file. Very helpful.

    Crupiea- sounds like you hit a major wall.


    So, glycogen depletion can only occur through anarobic exercise, because one cannot train anaerobically long enough to do so (due to build up lactic acid and other waste)?
    its probly both anarobic and aerobic, deffinately not weight training tho, in 30 mins? thats retarded
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  7. #7
    ⒾⒾⒻⓎⓂ LEX-UA's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by mikevall View Post
    its probly both anarobic and aerobic, deffinately not weight training tho, in 30 mins? thats retarded
    I meant aerobic.
    Fixed.
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