Endurance Athletes - Carbs are your Best Buddies
For accomplishing your training goals, in the first place, you need to understand the importance of a well-balanced diet. Many food combinations can help you achieve your goals, but others can make that journey more difficult. When you train hard, and for long periods, you need a plan that suits your organism's needs. Meals that will reduce the inflammation, and muscle fatigue, for you to be able to recover faster. Drinks that will balance your body's thermoregulation and nutrients will give you all the energy you need.
When it comes to energy sources, nothing can beat carbohydrates. They are the primary energy source and the main nutrient for endurance performance. But again, you need a plan. It is essential to know which carbohydrates you need to consume for more energy and the exact amounts. If not, the results can be counterproductive. Many factors can impact your performance when it comes to carbohydrates, even when they need to enter your bloodstream. That is why there is no space for improvising if you want to beat your personal best or win a race. For example, high glycemic index carbohydrates (potatoes, white rice, etc.) tend to be rapidly absorbed and are the perfect energy source for muscles during training.
How many carbohydrates should you eat?
I'm sure you have experienced fatigue and reduced exercise performance many times, but have you ever wondered why? Well, carbohydrate depletion and dehydration could be one of the main reasons. Many athletes fail to consume enough nutrient-dense carbohydrates to replenish muscle glycogen stores fully. As an endurance athlete, you should consume 8 to 12 g / kg of carbohydrates a day, depending on your estimated daily calorie needs.
In general, around 60% of calories should come from carbohydrates, consumed with an adequate amount of liquids. Studies have shown that high muscle glycogen and blood glucose (sugar) levels could improve performance by 3% in events lasting longer than 90 minutes. Several studies demonstrated that the ingestion of 20 g of carbohydrates per hour (60 g/h is the recommended maximum usage limit) was able to show significant performance improvements. One particular study showed that the intake of 16 g of glucose per hour boosted endurance capacity by 14 %, and that is a lot.
The American College of Sports Medicine recommended that carbohydrate intake during endurance exercise be between 30 and 60 g per hour. Athletes that perform at high intensities will have higher carbohydrate oxidation rates and will have to consume higher amounts of carbohydrates. It means that you need to know the numbers and trust someone who knows how to improve your performance and recovery during rest periods by regulating what foods you need to eat and when.
Protein and dietary fat can also supply your body with enough energy to complete your training. Still, only carbohydrates can be broken-down fast enough to give you the energy you need during strenuous training. Although the mechanism is not completely clear, the consumption of carbohydrates during endurance exercise improves the results and reduces the attack of hypoglycemia (fall in blood sugar), especially when lasting more than 2 hours. So carbohydrates are essential for an excellent performance.
Carbohydrate availability is higher when you consume them in the hours before training and days before the event. So, the more glycogen reserves you consume during exercise, the higher its accumulation in muscles and liver. Eating well for endurance athletes is not essential only before training and in the recovery phase, but it is also crucial during the actual activity. So the most important thing is that you have a well-planned strategy developed in line with your personal needs and characteristics. It is crucial not only to improve your performance and recovery but also to reduce gastrointestinal discomfort due to reduced absorption and gastric emptying during events. With our meals, you consume the right amounts of carbohydrates, accompanied by other nutrients that can enhance your training performance and allow you to develop your skills faster and get the best out of your favorite sport!
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