Dietary carbohydrate, muscle glycogen content, and endurance performance in well-trained women

J Appl Physiol (1985). 2000 Jun;88(6):2151-8. doi: 10.1152/jappl.2000.88.6.2151.


This study examined the ability of well-trained eumenorrheic women to increase muscle glycogen content and endurance performance in response to a high-carbohydrate diet (HCD; approximately 78% carbohydrate) compared with a moderate-carbohydrate diet (MD; approximately 48% carbohydrate) when tested during the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle. Six women cycled to exhaustion at approximately 80% maximal oxygen uptake (VO(2 max)) after each of the randomly assigned diet and exercise-tapering regimens. A biopsy was taken from the vastus lateralis before and after exercise in each trial. Preexercise muscle glycogen content was high after the MD (625.2 +/- 50.1 mmol/kg dry muscle) and 13% greater after the HCD (709.0 +/- 44.8 mmol/kg dry muscle). Postexercise muscle glycogen was low after both trials (MD, 91.4 +/- 34.5; HCD, 80.3 +/- 19.5 mmol/kg dry muscle), and net glycogen utilization during exercise was greater after the HCD. The subjects also cycled longer at approximately 80% VO(2 max) after the HCD vs. MD (115:31 +/- 10:47 vs. 106:35 +/- 8:36 min:s, respectively). In conclusion, aerobically trained women increased muscle glycogen content in response to a high-dietary carbohydrate intake during the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle, but the magnitude was smaller than previously observed in men. The increase in muscle glycogen, and possibly liver glycogen, after the HCD was associated with increased cycling performance to volitional exhaustion at approximately 80% VO(2 max).

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Bicycling
  • Blood / metabolism
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / metabolism
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / pharmacology*
  • Dietary Fats / metabolism
  • Female
  • Glycogen / metabolism*
  • Hormones / blood
  • Humans
  • Muscles / metabolism*
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Physical Education and Training*
  • Physical Endurance / physiology*


  • Dietary Carbohydrates
  • Dietary Fats
  • Hormones
  • Glycogen