Saturday, 22 January 2011

Carbo loading - Improve sports performance with these tips

If you usually run, cycle, swim, or play sports at a moderate intensity for less than about 50 minutes at a time, don't worry too much about carbo-loading unless you train more than once a day or tend to eat too little carbohydrate.

However, interval and repetition workouts can dramatically deplete glycogen, even when they last less than 50 minutes, so do consider using the strategy AFTER high-intensity sessions, especially if you plan to cycle or go for a long, steady run later in the day.

During all periods of very heavy training and whenever you are significantly increasing your workout duration or total training volume, give Carb- loading a try. Also employ the strategy during times when extensive power or speed training is a priority.

To determine how much carbohydrate you require simply multiply your weight in pounds by three. Divide this by 16 to determine the number of grams of carbohydrate to eat every 15 minutes for the following four hours post exercise.

As an example: John weighs 140 pounds. 140 X 3 = 420. 420/16 = 26.25 grams of carbohydrate should be ingested every 15 minutes.

As you don't usually think about how many grams of carbohydrate you're actually ingesting, I've made things easier for you by listing food servings which provide about 20-25 grams of carbohydrate:

(1) Two cups of skim milk (2) A little more than half a bagel (3) A two-thirds cup serving of cooked pasta (4) An apple or a banana or a pear (5) Four dates (6) A cup of orange juice (7) One-fifth of a cup of raisins (or two half-ounce packets) (8) An ounce and one-half of corn chips (9) A medium baked potato (10) A slice and a quarter of most breads (11) Two slices of non-fat 'diet' bread (12) A cupcake (13) An English muffin (14) A cup of oatmeal (15) One and one-half cups of Special K cereal (16) One-half cup of cooked rice (17) Three carrots (18) Two-thirds of a cup of cooked lentils (19) A half-cup of cooked kidney or pinto beans (20) A cup of split pea or bean soup.

If ingesting 20-25 grams of carbohydrate every 15 minutes for four hours after a tough workout is just too much of a bother, a modified version by consuming 40-50 grams every 30 minutes or 60-75 grams every 45 minutes. This should still yield similar rates of carbohydrate warehousing.

Carbo-loading requires some planning, and you'll still want to eat some additional carbohydrates during your regular meals, but the effort should add fire to your training and competitive efforts. With extra carbohydrate in your muscles, you'll simply be able to train or compete at a fast pace for longer periods of time.


Grant Roberts
The Sports Specialist
07867 535696
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