Carbs For Sports: The Low-Down

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For any athlete, one of the most common problems that can crop up during your workout is ensuring your body has enough fuel. As we all know, exercise does a number on our bodies – and we need to help give our bodies the fuel needed to get through the workout itself.

Whether your sport of choice is running, cycling or swimming, you’ll need to give your body the fuel that it needs to complete your workout. Are carbohydrates the right choice for that energy, though?

Most of the time, carbs are seen as being added for us, and they are often decried within dietary communities. That, though, might not be the quality wisdom that was once expected. Carbohydrates are stored in the body by being turned into glycogen. That glycogen is then broken down through exercise, providing energy to our muscles as we go.

Glucose and sucrose are two common forms of carbohydrate and are often found in everything from fresh fruits like bananas to starchy products like rice and pasta. If you are someone who regularly believes that all carbs are bad, then you will definitely struggle to build up the energy needed during a workout.

Your body needs carbs to fuel itself during the workout process, so it’s foolish to simply cut them out of your system altogether. The challenge then is making sure that you get the right amount of carbohydrates into your system.

How Many Carbs Do I Need?

Since the body can only store a finite amount of glycogen, it’s important that you take enough carbs in to cover the length of your workout. If you believe that your workout will exceed one hour in length, then you should definitely look to store as much glycogen as you can to fuel that workout to success.

Without enough carbs, you run the risk of not having enough energy to finish the training program to a satisfying level.

You should, therefore, look to consume your carbs based on the intensity and the scale of your training in the first place. Roughly 30g of carbohydrates after the first hour of your training should be enough to get you around 90 minutes of action. Around 60g per hour is needed after your first 2.5 hours of training, and 90g per hour after the 3-hour mark.

While it will depend on the intensity of the exercise, this should give you a general starting point. Everyone is different, though, so try and experiment to find what appears to work best for you. You might not even need as much as this if you work at a lower training intensity.

Just be sure to start taking some time to look at things like the volume of carbs in grams in everything that you eat, as it will help you to make better decisions on what kind of carbs you are taking in. Get this right, and you’ll be very much more likely to maximize your training output.