Carbohydrate loading is a technique used to increase the amount of glycogen in an athletes muscles. For five to seven days before an event, athletes eat 10 to 12 grams of carbohydrate per kilogram body weight and gradually reduces the intensity of the workouts. The day before the event, athletes rest and eat the same high carbohydrate diet. To find out how much you weigh in kilograms, simply divide your weight in pounds by 2.2.
Although carbohydrate loading may be beneficial for athletes participating in endurance sports which require 90 minutes or more of non-stop effort, most athletes need not worry about carbohydrate loading. Simply eating a diet that derives more than half of its calories from carbohydrates will do.
There are two main types of carbohydrates -
- Complex carbohydrates are starches and dietary fiber.
- Simple carbohydrates are sugars found naturally in foods such as fruits, vegetables milk, and milk products, and also include sugars added during food processing and refining. Foods with added sugars have fewer nutrients than foods with naturally occurring sugars.
Your body uses carbohydrates (carbs) to make glucose which is the fuel that gives you energy and helps keep everything going. Your body can use glucose immediately or store it in your liver and muscles for when it is needed.
Carbohydrates are in the following foods:
- Breads, cereals, and other grains.
- Milk and milk products.
- Foods containing added sugars – for example, cakes, cookies, and sugar sweetened beverages.
Healthier foods higher in carbohydrates include ones that provide dietary fiber and whole grains as well as those without added sugars.