Fuel for Endurance Athletes: Carb Needs During Exercise
𝗛𝗢𝗪 𝗠𝗨𝗖𝗛 𝗱𝗼 𝗮𝘁𝗵𝗹𝗲𝘁𝗲𝘀 𝗻𝗲𝗲𝗱 𝗗𝗨𝗥𝗜𝗡𝗚 𝗘𝗫𝗘𝗥𝗖𝗜𝗦𝗘?
Spoiler: it might be a lot more than many of you consume!
Unlike daily carb needs (discussed here) which are based on grams of carbs per kg of body weight (g/kg), the recommendations for carbs 𝙙𝙪𝙧𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙚𝙭𝙚𝙧𝙘𝙞𝙨𝙚 are expressed in grams per hour (𝗴/𝗵𝗿). This is because the rate at which carbs are burned during exercise is not influenced by body weight.... But 𝙞𝙨 𝙞𝙣𝙛𝙡𝙪𝙚𝙣𝙘𝙚𝙙 𝙗𝙮 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙙𝙪𝙧𝙖𝙩𝙞𝙤𝙣 & 𝙞𝙣𝙩𝙚𝙣𝙨𝙞𝙩𝙮 of exercise, with long efforts requiring the greatest intake of carbs. The chart below gives you a breakdown of the typical needs of a competitive endurance athlete (less trained athletes should aim for the low end of recommendations). The second chart gives recommendations for how you could aim to meet your needs!
🚨 To fully understand the meaning of "𝗺𝘂𝗹𝘁𝗶𝗽𝗹𝗲 𝘁𝗿𝗮𝗻𝘀𝗽𝗼𝗿𝘁𝗲𝗿𝘀" reference this post on the types of carbs & how they are absorbed! 🚨
It’s also important to note that gut tolerance of foods during exercise is highly individualistic and each athletes fueling & hydration strategy will vary. With that said... athletes, especially those who frequently experience stomach issues, should seek advice from a dietitian experienced in sports nutrition. If you have any questions about fueling during exercise, drop them in the comments 👇🏼 and I’ll be glad to answer them!