2

votes

Is this a sign of glycogen depletion?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created February 27, 2011 at 3:31 AM

Lately my legs have been feeling really weak, almost as if they have no strength to move, and at times they feel so tight it makes me dizzy (does that even make sense?). I do HIIT sprinting twice a week, about 3 hours of soccer during the week and lift heavy on the days I don't do sprinting or soccer. Asides from that, my job requires me to be on my feet all day moving plants and at times, heavy material. I also usually finish off the week with an intense 90 minute soccer game.

Could my legs be highly depleted of glycogen. I consume on average anywhere from 100-150 carbs some days, and around 50 grams on others. Should I go for a weekly carb refeed once a week and then go back down to my maintenance level to better keep up with activities?

I feel great besides the fact that my legs don't feel as powerful and get tired for sometimes the simplest of things.

Medium avatar

(39831)

on October 18, 2011
at 09:18 PM

I mostly agree with February Travis, though I think fructose is fine in this case since he needed to increase glycogenesis.

B9cc28905ec54389c47cde031d709703

on October 18, 2011
at 08:15 PM

"So keep that in mind and also realize that the body is made to work. If your healthy you need far less "rest" than most people like to think." Well it might not be "made" to work but in my opinions it's perfectly capable.

1acc4ee9381d9a8d998b59915b3f997e

(2099)

on February 27, 2011
at 02:41 PM

No, that's not normal. And there is no way for the TSH test to tell what is normal for *you*. Taking an iodine supplement helped me tremendously. I strongly suggest that you read the book *Iodine: Why you need it, Why you can't live without it* by David Brownstein, MD.

0adda19045a3641edac0008364b91110

(1146)

on February 27, 2011
at 02:01 PM

Thanks. I would actually see gaining a little fat as a good thing. I am so thin, that I could stand to gain a couple pounds.

06d21b99c58283ce575e36c4ecd4a458

(9948)

on February 27, 2011
at 04:47 AM

Tom R. That is a great observation. He is not giving his legs muscles time to recover...a la Slow Burn Fitness by Fred Hahn and Dr McGuff's Body by Science.

06d21b99c58283ce575e36c4ecd4a458

(9948)

on February 27, 2011
at 04:40 AM

Try cutting the carbs to near zero and replace the calories from carbs with more meat & fat and I think your legs will last longer than 45 min. Carbs don't seem to have enough energy density for staying power...at least that is what I found pre paleo. Try it for a month to give zero carb a good test.

06d21b99c58283ce575e36c4ecd4a458

(9948)

on February 27, 2011
at 04:36 AM

Try cutting the carbs to near zero and replace the calories from carbs with more meat & fat and I think your legs will last longer than 45 min. Carbs don't seem to have enough energy density for staying power...at least that is what I found pre paleo.

0adda19045a3641edac0008364b91110

(1146)

on February 27, 2011
at 04:31 AM

I get enough of all the above except calcium....

0adda19045a3641edac0008364b91110

(1146)

on February 27, 2011
at 04:30 AM

I consume close to 3000 calories daily with around the same ratios 75-15-15, and like I said my energy levels feel great...I just feel weak. I know both don't go hand in hand but that's how I feel. My mental state and otherwise physical well being is great, I just run into trouble when I have to play soccer for longer than 45 minutes, that's when the weakness begins to set in.

0adda19045a3641edac0008364b91110

(1146)

on February 27, 2011
at 04:26 AM

Well, I think I am hypthyroid although my doc thought my TSH was between normal range. My TSH was 5.17, which is not normal at all.

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8 Answers

3
Medium avatar

on February 27, 2011
at 06:01 AM

Sounds like low glycogen to me. There's no fixed number of appropriate carbs that works for the sedentary as well as someone who is obviously highly active such as yourself. Everyone here is so paranoid about glucose when they should be focused on removing fructose only. If you don't reach your glycogen saturation point, you don't gain a gram of fat from eating any amount of carbs. An athlete could throw 500g of carbs into the furnace if they're active enough and suffer no ill-effects. I would just go up to 200g on days when you're doing resistance training or high draw cardio and see how you do.

There's absolutely no sense in fearing any amount of starch that doesn't overreach your glycogen stores, and if it does, you gain a little fat. I would just slowly ratchet up the starch until I started to get perceptibly fatter and then back it off a bit. With some trial and error you should find the sweet spot. Fructose on the other hand should be completely avoided.

0adda19045a3641edac0008364b91110

(1146)

on February 27, 2011
at 02:01 PM

Thanks. I would actually see gaining a little fat as a good thing. I am so thin, that I could stand to gain a couple pounds.

Medium avatar

(39831)

on October 18, 2011
at 09:18 PM

I mostly agree with February Travis, though I think fructose is fine in this case since he needed to increase glycogenesis.

3
072fd69647b0e765bb4b11532569f16d

(3717)

on February 27, 2011
at 04:41 AM

Without more information, I would tend to say your legs are overworked/overtrained. Try cutting one of the activities during the week out or waaaaay back. You can consume all the good calories you want, but "active rest" is more important than diet to recovery.

06d21b99c58283ce575e36c4ecd4a458

(9948)

on February 27, 2011
at 04:47 AM

Tom R. That is a great observation. He is not giving his legs muscles time to recover...a la Slow Burn Fitness by Fred Hahn and Dr McGuff's Body by Science.

2
B9cc28905ec54389c47cde031d709703

on October 18, 2011
at 08:06 PM

Sounds like a job for fructose. I can tell for certain that if you're active the best thing to eat from day to day to make sure you're replacing glycogen is to eat a couple pieces of fruit. Even though I'm a high-CHO guy, I can tell you that unless I eat fruit things won't go smoothly from day to day in training.

For all the those crying overtraining I'd suggest you take a look at elite distance runners. It blows my mind when people talk about overtraining and they are working out 2-3 days a week. This is akin to reading about traditional cultures eating whole foods and balanced macros and saying high-CHO will give you diabetes when there are plenty of cultures that eat high-CHO and are healthy. So using that example while some people are working out 2-3 times a week and getting overtrained there are those of us who run 90-140 miles per week with no days off and not overtrained. How is this possible? It's easy. Most people who complain of overtraining are usually overtrained but it isn't because of the "work" they are doing it's because they aren't eating enough or they aren't eating enough of the right foods. I'll give you one good example in distance runners. It is quite common during base building phase when average weekly mileages are in the 100's for runners to become iron depleted. They will eventually exhibit signs of overtraining, but it's not because of the work, it's because they are nutritionally crippled. So keep that in mind and also realize that the body is made to work. If your healthy you need far less "rest" than most people like to think.

Eat appropriately for your lifestyle.

Back to fructose. One would think that if you ate enough potatoes or good CHO's that that would cover you in day to day actives replacing glycogen. In my experience this is not the case. There is nothing that can replace fruit when it comes to replacing glycogen. That's my opinion though but 1000's of athletes around the world would agree with me.

Even Dr. Harris talked about in one recent podcast interview how athletes need plenty of fructose. It's only the sedentary folks who would be wise to do without. I thoroughly appreciated his comments on that.

B9cc28905ec54389c47cde031d709703

on October 18, 2011
at 08:15 PM

"So keep that in mind and also realize that the body is made to work. If your healthy you need far less "rest" than most people like to think." Well it might not be "made" to work but in my opinions it's perfectly capable.

2
5740abb0fa033403978dd988b0609dfd

on February 27, 2011
at 03:45 AM

If you are otherwise eating sufficient calories I don't think lacking carbs will give you this problem. But before going down that route, given all the exercise you are doing, are you sure your electrolytes are OK? I'd try making sure I was getting enough potassium as well as calcium, magnesium, and phosphorous.

0adda19045a3641edac0008364b91110

(1146)

on February 27, 2011
at 04:31 AM

I get enough of all the above except calcium....

0
E35e3d76547b18096a59c90029e7e107

(15613)

on February 27, 2011
at 01:36 PM

I've had this before, but I don't associate it with glycogen depletion. When I'm glycogen depleted it certainly cuts into my ability to perform intense exercise- in that I immediately lose the ability to do any- but my ability to perform moderately intense exercise isn't impacted at all and it certainly doesn't cause me any discomfort or loss of ability during day to day tasks.

I have, however, experienced really stiff, aching limbs with extreme carbohydrate depletion however, but seemingly this is not to do with depletion of glycogen. If you're semi-regularly eating 100-150g of carbohydrate I would be especially sceptical that this was so. I would agree with PortlandAllen that the problem might be electrolytes, especially with a lower carb/higher protein diet (combined with high activity) causing increased loss of them. In my own case I'm pretty sure that I get enough magnesium via supplementation, calcium (given my vitamin D intake and occasional dairy) but I know I rarely get enough potassium. Overtraining is probably well worth considering, though I don't think it's the problem in my case, where lengthy exercise tends (eventually) to loosen the muscles a bit.

0
E0b0d94cebef8ed2371d02ec2ecb5461

(94)

on February 27, 2011
at 10:15 AM

overtraing. Decide whats important, you need to cut some activity/shift to something less leg dependent.

0
06d21b99c58283ce575e36c4ecd4a458

(9948)

on February 27, 2011
at 04:20 AM

With your level of activity, I would bet you are not fueling yourself with enough calories from fat and meat. If you are a twenty-something, I would think you need to fuel yourself with at least 3000 calories/day.

Many of us eat 75% fat, 20% protein, 5% carbs as measured at http://www.fitday.com and never feel like we are strength deprived.

Charles Washingtion at http://www.zeroinginonhelth.com is an athlete who is almost zero carb and does quite well in some of the events he competes in. Remember that there are no essential carbohydrates that humans need. We do just fine on meat and fat as many of our ancestors did.

My typical day consists of 6 fried eggs..in coconut oil, and 1/8 pound of bacon for breakfast. No lunch as I just don't need it. Dinner 16oz of beef, chicken, fish preceeded by a large green salad with copious amounts of olive oil and vinegar. 6'2" 160 67years. Activity level 4 softball games a week, plus tabata sprint HIIT 5 min two days a week.

Fuel your body adequately with fat and meat and your leg strength will return.

06d21b99c58283ce575e36c4ecd4a458

(9948)

on February 27, 2011
at 04:36 AM

Try cutting the carbs to near zero and replace the calories from carbs with more meat & fat and I think your legs will last longer than 45 min. Carbs don't seem to have enough energy density for staying power...at least that is what I found pre paleo.

06d21b99c58283ce575e36c4ecd4a458

(9948)

on February 27, 2011
at 04:40 AM

Try cutting the carbs to near zero and replace the calories from carbs with more meat & fat and I think your legs will last longer than 45 min. Carbs don't seem to have enough energy density for staying power...at least that is what I found pre paleo. Try it for a month to give zero carb a good test.

0adda19045a3641edac0008364b91110

(1146)

on February 27, 2011
at 04:30 AM

I consume close to 3000 calories daily with around the same ratios 75-15-15, and like I said my energy levels feel great...I just feel weak. I know both don't go hand in hand but that's how I feel. My mental state and otherwise physical well being is great, I just run into trouble when I have to play soccer for longer than 45 minutes, that's when the weakness begins to set in.

0
1acc4ee9381d9a8d998b59915b3f997e

(2099)

on February 27, 2011
at 04:16 AM

Do you have any of the signs and symptoms of low thyroid, like feeling cold, dry, coarse skin, brittle hair, constipation, brain fog, etc? The reason I ask is because that is how my legs used to feel when I was hypothyroid. Dizziness also makes me think of low blood pressure, which is a sign of low adrenal function. When I was having thyroid and adrenal trouble (they often go together) simply taking a shower would exhaust me or I'd have to lay down to rest after I raised my arms over my head to put my hair in a bun...stuff like that.

1acc4ee9381d9a8d998b59915b3f997e

(2099)

on February 27, 2011
at 02:41 PM

No, that's not normal. And there is no way for the TSH test to tell what is normal for *you*. Taking an iodine supplement helped me tremendously. I strongly suggest that you read the book *Iodine: Why you need it, Why you can't live without it* by David Brownstein, MD.

0adda19045a3641edac0008364b91110

(1146)

on February 27, 2011
at 04:26 AM

Well, I think I am hypthyroid although my doc thought my TSH was between normal range. My TSH was 5.17, which is not normal at all.

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