The power of carbohydrates

The power of carbohydrates

Apr 09, 2024

Every athlete, regardless of level, cannot ignore one fact: carbohydrates are essential for optimal performance. They are the primary source of energy for your muscles during both low and high intensity exercise. In this blog we delve deeper into why carbohydrates are so important and how you can best use them before, during and after your sporting activities.

Importance of carbohydrates

Carbohydrates serve as the main fuel for your body during exercise. They are stored as glycogen in your muscles and liver, but this storage is limited. This means that during prolonged or intense activity, replenishing carbohydrates is crucial to continue supplying energy to your body.

Optimal Carbohydrate Intake

  • Before exercise: Maximize your glycogen stores by eating a meal rich in complex carbohydrates (such as pasta, rice or oatmeal) 2-3 hours before your activity.
  • During exercise: The advice is to consume 30 to 60 grams of carbohydrates per hour for activities lasting 75 to 150 minutes. This can be done through sports drinks, energy gels, or carbohydrate-rich snacks such as a banana.
  • After exercise: Replenish your glycogen stores as quickly as possible. A combination of carbohydrates and proteins within 30 minutes after your workout promotes both recovery and muscle building.

Tip: Start replenishing carbohydrates from the first hour of your activity, even if you don't feel tired yet. This helps to maintain stable energy levels and prevent the infamous 'hunger pangs'.

Read on in "Strategies against hunger pangs" to discover how you can implement nutritional strategies to stave off hunger pangs and maintain your energy levels.

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