Monday, March 5, 2012

The Power of Carbohydrates

For endurance training of a moderate to vigorous nature, carbohydrates are your body’s major source of energy. Yes, we also use fats for fuel but it is the rather limited storage of carbohydrate that becomes the issue when we start to push our bodies to go farther and faster. Your muscles and liver store carbohydrate – only a limited amount – and this needs to be continually replaced  or you are not going to be able to continue to exert yourself… have you ever wondered how you can avoid “hitting the wall?” To maintain your supply of muscle energy for as long as possible for endurance sports such as skiing, running and cycling, follow an eating plan that includes plenty of carbohydrate rich foods. Use a sports drink during training sessions to keep blood sugar levels topped up and eat a carbohydrate rich snack after each training session when your muscles are most receptive to refueling their depleted carbohydrate stores.

Step 1 - Calculate your daily carbohydrate (CHO) needs.
Find the training program that best describes yours and multiply the range of CHO needs by your body weight. 
Step 2 – Power fuel your plate at every meal and snack with carbohydrate rich foods.
Calculate your meal and/or snack needs. Plan to have ¼ of your daily CHO needs at each meal and 1/8th at each snack. Check the Carbohydrates in Food: Quick Rule of Thumb chart and see which food choices will meet your CHO needs. For maximum power fuel, the CHO you eat should come from among the different food groups.

(Every day situation)
Daily CHO needs (grams) per kg body weight
Your body weight (kg)
CHO needs
Recovery workout
(1 – 1.5 hours)
3-4 g/kg


1 hour /  moderate/high intensity
5-7 g/kg

2 hours at moderate/high intensity OR
3-4+ hours of long slow distance


To maximize daily muscle glycogen recovery/to pre-competition “load”
7-10 g/kg

Prolonged & intense daily training (5-6 hours of moderate to intense)
10-12 g /kg


Follow these simple guidelines:
1.         Choose starchy CHO rich foods for long lasting fuel (ex. Oatmeal for breakfast);
2.         Choose simple CHO rich foods (fruits, sweet vegetables, milk products, sugars/sweets) before and during workouts for quickly available fuel;
3.         Choose fiber rich foods (whole grains and cereals, vegetables, fruits and legumes) post workout for your gut’s health and proper function.
Carbohydrates in Food – Quick Rule of Thumb
(grams of CHO/serving)
~5 g CHO/serving

1 small vegetable (tomato, pepper, onion);
½ large vegetable (sweet red/green/yellow pepper),
½ cup cooked or raw
~15 g CHO/serving
1 medium fruit; ½ large fruit
125 mL fruit juice; 2 tbsp dried fruit
125 mL fresh, frozen, cooked or canned fruit;
Grains & Cereals
Starchy vegetables
Legumes (kidney beans, chickpeas, lentils)

~15 g CHO/serving

30 g bread or cereal
½ small bagel; ½ English muffin;
2 rice cakes; 2 small tea biscuits;
½ cup cooked  pasta or grains
3 cups popcorn; 6 saltine crackers;
1 small white potato; ½ medium sweet potato
125 mL legumes; 90 mL hummus
40 g cereal bar; 125 mL rice pudding;
Milk and Alternatives
~12-15 g CHO/serving
250 mL milk, or soy beverage
175 mL plain yogurt/ kefir;
175 mL fruit yogurt or flavoured yogurt;
250 mL chocolate milk or sweetened soy;
250 mL fruit flavoured kefir

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing the interesting piece of information, your post is simple yet smart. I have gone through all your posts and got a lot of experience.

    Asperger's Syndrome | Peak Performance