Wednesday, March 21, 2007

A Visit from Our Resident Science Geek

Carbohydrate Loading

For the next three blogs I am going to touch on carbohydrates. First I'll talk about pre-loading prior to an event, then consumption during exercise and finally for aiding in recovery.

ARFE Management would cop to using these to carbo-load in the days before an event. Heck, we might eat these DURING an event. Read on to find out what you really should do.

Carbohydrate Loading Prior to the event:

Carbohydrates are the primary fuel used by the muscles during intense exercise (Carbohydrates are the only fuel source your muscles can use without oxygen), fats provide significant energy at lower exercise intensities.

In the days prior to the event, focus on well balanced meals with a high carbohydrate content. You should be aiming for 7-10 grams (g) of carbohydrates per kilogram (kg)body weight. If you are training an hour or so per day shoot for the 7g/kg body weight. If you are at 3 hours per day, you should be aiming for the 10g/kg body weight. This will maintain your glycogen levels (glycogen is what your body converts glucose into for storage in the liver and muscles).

For your meal just prior to the event (usually breakfast) things become more individualized.

Team ARFE-SmartWool member Stoff lurrrrrvs these Gatorade bars. And we're not just sayin' that.

Some people can handle a small meal less than an hour before exercise, other people can't tolerate eating so close to the event. Here are some strategies to try depending on how you tolerate eating prior to an event:

If you can eat within an hour of the start time, try to get a small 300-600 calorie meal (1-2 grams carbohydrate per kilogram body weight) an hour before the start.

On the opposite side if you can't tolerate anything in your stomach at the start of exercise, you should shoot for a larger meal earlier. For example, a 800-1200 calorie meal with 3-4g of carbohydrate per kilogram body weight 3-4 hours prior to an event. If you are really intolerant to eating prior to racing, try liquid diets to achieve your calories.

Most people will fall somewhere in between these examples. No matter where you fall it is a good idea to train yourself to tolerate 8-16 ounces of a sports drink 15 - 20 minutes prior to the start of exercise. This will help top off your carbohydrate and hydration status in time for the start.

As always feel free to ask questions or for references with more details.

Happy training,


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