Sep 6, 2022

For Men yes but for Women No!

And here is why…….

Women’s bodies fuel differently from men’s.  We rely on blood glucose first then fatty acids so not our stored muscle & liver supply & also the different phases of the menstrual cycle will have an effect because certain phases influence our ability to access & replace liver & muscle glycogen!

The female body doesn’t respond the same way when we deliberately try to increase our glycogen stores days ahead of a race.

When studies were done on well-fuelled women & then carb loading there was an increase of 17% of muscle glycogen compared to 23% for men. 

But the problem really lies with women under fuelling generally!  They just don’t eat enough to fuel the amount of exercise they are doing!  Women tend to do more fad diets & constantly try to reduce their calories to lose weight & this does not help their performance or help them lose weight! It is important to eat enough & eat enough protein & carbohydrates before, during and AFTER training or competing!  As well as throughout the day rather than trying to cram it all in the day before!

As females, you will also need to increase your carbohydrate & protein intake during the Luteal phase of your cycle (high hormone phase) because your body is using more blood glucose to build the lining of your womb and so increasing your carbs gives you more availability for exercise.  And during high progesterone hormone puts females into a catabolic state (muscle breakdown) due to the breakdown of protein to also build your uterine lining so increasing protein will mitigate those effects & maintain your muscle mass!

For Men, carb loading can be effective & can improve their performance at lactate threshold by about 45%! Hope this has helped verify the original question!  A lot of past research was only ever done on men or women in their follicular phase (low hormone) so it’s only recently that new studies are being done on women in all their hormonal phases and we still have a long way to go but at least it is happening now!