Whereas depleted muscle glycogen causes athletes to hit the wall, depleted liver glycogen causes them to bonk, or crash. Liver glycogen feeds into the bloodstream to maintain a normal blood sugar level essential for "brain food." Despite adequate muscle glycogen, an athlete may feel uncoordinated, light-headed, unable to concentrate, and weakened because the liver is releasing inadequate sugar into the bloodstream.

You already know that your muscles and brain require glucose for energy. What you may not be aware of is that although the muscles can store glucose and burn fat, the brain does neither. This means that for the brain to function optimally, you must consume food close enough to strenuous events to supply sugar into the blood so the brain has fuel. Athletes with low blood sugar tend to perform poorly because the poorly fueled brain limits muscular function and mental drive. They also tend to be grumpy, be easily irritated, and have less fun.

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