How to Carb-Load Properly

How to Carb-Load Properly

Ahead of high-endurance events, many athletes decide to load up on carbohydrates. This gives their muscles larger supplies of sugar to use as a source of energy. As a result, they will perform better and will be less likely to feel fatigued during the event. For this strategy to work, though, it’s important to know how to carb-load properly.

Loading Up on Carbs

As a rule, you should start with your carb-load diet about 12 to 18 hours before a big sporting event. The first step is to increase your intake of carbohydrates. For most athletes, this means upping the consumption to about 7g for 1kg of body weight. But endurance athletes will need more energy.

Your Choice of Food

On the whole, carbohydrates should make up bwtween 45 to 65 percent of your daily calorie intake. But to know how to carb-load properly, you also need to understand how your body processes different foods. You should always go for foods that are easy to digest. Also, because your aim isn’t to lose weight, you don’t have to be restrictive.

Most athletes on a carb-load diet opt for different types of pastry. Bread, bagels, pancakes, waffles, and tortillas are all good options. They will give you the carbs you need and your body will digest them without any problems. While fruits are usually a good source of carbs, athletes should try to avoid them as much as possible. That’s because they are rich in fibers, which can cause bloating.

The Results of Carb-Loading

For best results, you should cut back on your training time while on a diet. This will allow your muscles to synthesize more glycogen from sugar and store it more efficiently. Furthermore, you should avoid training the day before the event and rest instead. If you manage to do that, your muscles may be able to store from 25 to 100 percent more glycogen.

Extra Tips

During the event, make sure to have energy drinks or a granola bar at hand. After the event, load up on carbs to allow your muscles to recover. Because you’re eating more carbs, your blood sugar levels will go up. So, if you’re suffering from diabetes, a carb-loading diet might do you more harm than good.

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