Can Diet Affect the Onset of Exhaustion

Stored carbohydrate in the form of muscle and liver glycogen reflects dietary carbohydrate intake. During training or competition, researchers have shown that athletes can significantly increase their training time or time till exhaustion by eating a high carbohydrate diet. For instance, one athlete on a low carbohydrate diet will reach muscle exhaustion long before another athlete on a high carbohydrate diet (more than 60 percent carbohydrate).

A high carbohydrate diet allows the body to replenish glycogen stores in-between training sessions. Contrary to what many people think, it actually takes a while to rebuild muscle glycogen stores that have been used during exercise. In fact, if an endurance athlete reduces his or her muscle glycogen to nadir levels during training or competition; it can take an entire day to rebuild them. This means that the athlete should eat carbohydrates immediately after completing a training session and throughout that day to provide the needed glucose to rebuild those stores.

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