Carbo-loading is a crucial concept in endurance sports nutrition. Carbohydrate loading or carbo-loading is a strategy employed by athletes who are into high endurance training. It involves maximizing energy by consuming adequate carbohydrates to fuel up the muscles, and decreasing the intensity of training a few days before the high endurance event.
When is Carbo-loading Recommended?
Carbo-loading is recommended for competitive athletes who are into mountain biking, cycling, or extreme endurance events like ironman triathlon (which last for 90 minutes or more). For activities that require tremendous cardiovascular strength, it is important to understand how much carbohydrate to consume before, during, and after the training.
How Does Carbo-loading Work?
Carbohydrates that are found in grains, dairy products, fruits, vegetables, legumes and beans are the primary source of energy. The body converts the carbohydrates into sugar during digestion to provide energy. A small amount of sugar is stored in muscles in the form of glycogen. High endurance activities require glycogen to build up the stamina and enhance the performance. This is achieved by increasing your carbohydrate intake three to four days prior to the main event. During carbo-loading the daily intake of carbohydrates is increased to 70% from the normally recommended 50% . The muscles are allowed to rest so they don’t utilize the glycogen before the event.
Sports nutritionists recommend carbo-loading for athletes to prevent fatigue during endurance events.