Carbs Fuel Exercise Performance

Every athlete's interested in enhancing performance and delaying fatigue. The key is in muscle glycogen, your body's primary fuel for moderate to high-intensity physical effort. Spent glycogen is replaced by the consumption of carbohydrates. Now the question becomes, how much is enough? The NSCA's Performance Training Journal's general recommendation for athletes is between 5 and 7 grams of carbs per kilogram of body weight per day. For endurance athletes, they suggest 7 to 10 grams of carbs per kilogram of body weight. That means a 130 pound athlete needs 295 to 413 grams of carbs a day, and a 130 pound cyclist would require between 413 and 590 grams.

True Strength Moment: As anyone who drinks a protein shake immediately after training can tell you, it's not only a matter of how much to supplement with, but when that supplementation occurs. Consuming carbs within 30 minutes of finishing your training accelerates glycogen replenishment, assisted by increased blood flow to muscles. Researchers recommend 1 to 1.5 grams of carbs per kilogram of body weight within this 30-minute window, which means stacking, or combining, these carbs with a fast-acting protein might be ideal for muscle rebuilding and glycogen replenishment. A whole foods meal of lean meat protein and complex carbohydrates from vegetable sources within 2 hours of this stacked shake can help keep the process going.
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