The Role of Carbs in Endurance Sports
While the majority of people are consistently being warned about the dangers of eating too many carbohydrates and the negative effect on a spreading waistline, endurance athletes are a different breed.
Carbs fuel the body’s muscles. They are a vital part of an athlete’s diet, no matter if he or she specializes in weightlifting, strength training, or marathon running. The key to making carbohydrates work with your performance goals instead of against them is choosing the right foods and the right time to ingest them.
Everyone is undoubtedly aware that there are good carbs, and there are bad carbs. Endurance athletes can’t choose donuts and potato chips before a competition and expect to perform optimally. Grains, rice, and pasta starches along with beans and fruits provide the best form of fuel for the body. But even yogurt, soy products, and milk contain some carbs.
After digestion these carbohydrates are turned into glucose and enter the bloodstream. The liver and muscles store any glucose not immediately needed, turning it into glycogen. Obviously this is important for an endurance athlete to maintain long-term performance levels during a sport. Without sufficient glycogen levels, a competitor is bound to lose dexterity, precision, and hand-eye coordination essential to optimal functioning. The longer an event, the higher the number of carbohydrates that must be consumed.
Timing is a critical component. Of course, eating a high number of carbs right before competing is never a good idea. Instead, a nutrient-rich meal needs the proper time to digest and provide the muscles with necessary glycogen throughout the event. This means that three to four hours prior to competition is best for a large meal, followed by a carb-rich snack in the hour or two preceding the event’s start.
After competition performance, an energy drink that provides protein and carbohydrates will help the body recover quickly. Wait for a half hour but no longer than 60 minutes after exertion to best refuel glycogen starved organs.
The proper diet in conjunction with Extreme Endurance drug free supplements will result in optimum performance levels by buffering acid. Don’t forget to add the appropriate amount of carbohydrates to your training day meals.