What is Carbohydrate Loading?

Carbohydrate loading, also known as carb loading, is something that endurance athletes, such as runners and triathletes, use to increase the amount of glycogen that is stored in the body for fuel and improved performance. Health wellness coaching and sport specific coaches can help athletes train harder and compete harder with health nutrition fitness tips using carb loading. A licensed dietitian/nutritionist should be used if you have health concerns or food allergies such as food sensitivities to gluten.

Marathon runners will use carb loading regularly for long training runs and marathon events.  The body naturally stores about 2,000 calories worth of glycogen for fuel and energy. The average marathoner burns about 100 calories per mile. The average distance runner will be depleted of stored glycogen around mile 20 of their marathon – also known as “hitting the wall”. Carb loading allows them to store additional glycogen to maintain consistent energy during their run. Eating simple carbohydrates such as fruit or energy gels every hour can also prevent endurance athletes from “hitting the wall”. It is recommended that athletes consume 200 calories per hour of endurance exercise to prevent glycogen stores from getting too low. The 200 calories per hour is used for the average person of average weight.  That number should be adjusted to fit your individual needs.  A sports coach or running coach can help you with those numbers as well. Experimenting with what works best for you during your longer training runs will help you immensely on the day of your big event. Be sure if you choose to carb load that you try it on your training runs before doing it on competition day. You should not try anything new in your diet the day before your big event so that you don’t succumb to gastrointestinal issues.

Getting a personal trainer certification in sports training or sports nutrition can help you learn more about carb loading and how you can apply it to your own training as well as helping clients use it maximize their training.  Proper nutrition helps support your training. If you fuel right, you’ll be able to unleash your inner endurance beast! Try carb loading to help you reach your goals in endurance training.

Sports Nutrition Certification

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