Certain bio markers of the body’s adaptation to endurance training appear to be enhanced to a greater extent when one trains with low muscle glycogen (the storage from of carbohydrate in the muscle cell) or with low availability of pre and during workout snacks of carbohydrate rich foods/drinks. The potential outcomes are:
- it may enhance skeletal muscle capacity for endurance performance at the cellular level and
- it may increase in use of muscle triglyceride (fat) and adipose tissue to meet training needs.
Competing on high carbohydrate availability takes advantage of these training influenced metabolic adaptations to help achieve peak performance… however this is at the expense of low carbohydrate availability during training. Acutely, this will make training difficult, and you may not be able to go for as long or as hard as you had planned too. Low carbohydrate availability can also compromise the immune system; negatively impact cognitive performance and central nervous system (balance, coordination, quickness) functioning…. and likely make you pretty cranky. Despite all these issues, there may be some metabolic advantages to manipulate carbohydrate availability before, during, or after selected training sessions in a periodical training-nutrition plan for the cross country skier who is looking to promote endurance performance. Here are a number of different strategies to train low: