Continuing on the note of carbohydrates, I feel there are three other basics that require demystifying – that of carbohydrate loading, carbohydrate stacking and pre-workout sugar intake.
I am sure you have heard sprinters talk of carb loading often and wondered what it is. To put it simply, carbohydrate loading is when an athlete spends carbohydrates and then force-feeds himself/herself over a period of several days. Carbohydrates are thus first depleted, say on a long-distance fast run and then large amounts of carbs are eaten. This is supported by the theory that a carb-low body will overcompensate and store extra glycogen.
Similarly, you may have come across the term ‘carbohydrate stacking’, especially in magazines like Runner’s World etc. Carb stacking holds specific significance for endurance athletes such as those running marathons, 10K, Bolder Boulder, 100K, clay court tennis players etc. It means that the athlete consumes several different kinds of carbohydrates, each of which will be assimilated by the body at different rates depending on their glycaemic index (GI) values. The higher GI value foods will fulfil their instant energy requirements and the low GI value foods will enable slow and controlled energy release.
The other question I am asked often is that if sugar-based drinks or foods pre-workout are beneficial to a workout routines and goal achievement. Sucrose (as in table sugar) is assimilated by the body and reaches our bloodstream very quickly – usually within a few minutes of consumption. You can see the spiked values and graph rise from a blood sample taken soon after sugar consumption.
In the next post, I shall talk about protein-workout nexus. Till then, take care.