Wednesday, November 6, 2013

How do I carb load?

Carbohydrate loading is a practice that has been shown in research to benefit those participating in competitive endurance events lasting >90 minutes. Since glycogen (stored carbohydrate in muscle) levels decrease quickly during moderate to intense exercise, the body must be given ample carbohydrates (carb) in the days leading up to the event to adequately stock the muscles.

The When and The How: Proper Regimen
1. Begin by increasing carb food intake to 8-12g/kg body weight for the first two of the three days prior to the event/race. [that means Thursday & Friday for a Sunday race.] For a 145lb individual, this would be 527-790gm daily.                     
2. When choosing carbs, emphasize complex carbs (fruits and vegetables in all forms) and distribute them at all meals and snacks during the day, while avoiding simple carbs (sugars such as candy and pop).
3. Resume your normal intake of carbs the day before the race or event (typically 5-8 g/kg body weight). For a 145lb individual, this would be 330-527gm daily. 

Note: The idea here is not to increase total calories, but to adjust intake to result in a greater percentage of calories from carbohydrate (vs. protein or fat ).

Common Issues with Carb Loading
· Neglecting to taper training. Failing to back off training for the 1-3 days before competition may compromise carb loading.
· Fear of weight gain. Carb loading may cause body mass to increase by up to 3-5lbs; this is simply extra water stored in muscles with the glycogen (stored carb). It will help delay dehydration during the event or race. Your weight will go back to where it was after you finish the race.
· Excessive fiber intake. It may necessary to limit fiber consumption in order to avoid stomach discomfort. Fiber is found in fruits, veggies, beans, legumes, and whole wheat grain sources. You might also try increasing water content to compensate for the increased fiber intake.
· Consuming too many high-fat foods, such as donuts, ice cream and other pastries. Aim for a combination of high-carb, low-fat options.
· Cutting out protein. A low-fat protein source should accompany carb-rich meals.
· Not practicing an eating plan prior to competition. Rehearsing carb loading on an off week ensures that you know which foods give you enough energy and make you feel your best.

Sample menu for 145lb athlete
1 cup OJ
Black coffee or tea
Breakfast burrito (one 8-inch flour tortilla + 1 scrambled egg + 2 egg whites + 1/2 cup black beans + 2 Tbsp salsa)

Mid-morning Snack:
1 cup low-fat milk
1 cup of whole-grain cereal

Water or unsweetened beverage
3/4 cup baked potato wedges with 1 Tbsp ketchup
16 carrots
Roast beef sandwich (one 2.5 oz whole-grain bun + 4 oz lean roast beef + 2 slices tomato + 1/4 cup shredded romaine lettuce + 1.5 oz part-skim mozzarella cheese + 1 tsp yellow mustard)

Afternoon Snack:
1 cup cantaloupe
1 Tbsp peanut butter
1 oz whole wheat crackers

1 cup low-fat milk
3/4 cup flavored white rice with 0.5 oz slivered almonds
1 1/2 cups steamed broccoli
Stuffed, broiled salmon filet (5 oz cooked salmon, 1 oz bread stuffing mix, 1 Tbsp chopped onions, 1 Tbsp diced celery, 2 tsp canola oil)

After Dinner Snack
1/4 cup hummus
4-inch pita bread
3/4 cup blueberries

Be Extraordinary,


Photo credit:

No comments:

Post a Comment