November 21, 2021


Carbohydrates Are King

Just like automobiles, our bodies require energy to perform. Carbohydrates are the bodies preferred fuel source because they can be broken down rapidly and used for energy. Unfortunately, there is not enough storage room in the body for carbohydrates to provide fuel for long periods. To maintain your bodies energy levels, you should consume carbohydrates in the form of liquids, solids or gels.

During competition, try to consume simple carbohydrates that are easily digestible, like sports drinks or gels. While competing, it is usually best to avoid consumption of heavy doses
of fiber, protein, and fat to decrease possible stomach discomfort and irritability—since they take longer to digest. This is not always the case for low intensity activity, such as hiking, climbing, or ultra-distance running: small amounts of protein or fat may be appropriate for those athletes who are getting hungry. Ultimately, listen to your body to determine which energy sources are most comfortable for you.

Carbs From Solid Foods

During training and some competitions, solid foods can provide bulk and a feeling of fullness. For lower intensity events, solid foods like fruit, sports bars, and breads are

great sources of energy. For many high intensity or short duration competitions such as team sports, this is not the case, as solid foods — which may contain fiber, protein, or fat — require more time to digest.

Carbs From Liquids

Sports drinks typically contain a carbohydrate concentration of 6
to 8 percent, which is optimal for comfortable fluid absorption. This is much lower than fruit juice, which delivers about a 10 to 12 percent concentration of carbohydrates that can lead to stomach discomfort during competition.

For most team sports, such as soccer or basketball, 20 to 40 ounces (~591 to 1183 ml) of sports drink each hour can adequately satisfy carbohydrate and fluid needs.

Carbs From Gels

Gels are heavily concentrated,
thus providing an efficient way of consuming energy in the form of carbohydrates. Most gels supply approximately 20 to 30 grams of carbohydrates. Whether before
or during competition, it’s best to consume gels with at least 12 ounces (~355 ml) of water due to their high concentration of carbohydrates.


30 - 75 Minutes

For exercise lasting 30-75 minutes, such as a
5 or 10k race, consuming carbohydrates may not be required, and in some cases may even be uncomfortable for athletes.

1.5 - 2.5 Hours

For exercise lasting 1.5 to 2.5 hours, or for high intensity competition, such as basketball or football, consume 30 to 60 grams per hour. Examples include a 20 ounce (~591 ml) sports drink or an 8.4 ounce (~250 ml) energy drink.

More Than 2.5 Hours

For exercise lasting more than 2.5 hours,
such as a triathlon: Consume up to 90 grams per hour. An example includes a 20 ounce (~591 ml) sports drink and two energy gels, through consumption of multiple transportable carbohydrates such as fructose and glucose, or maltodextrin and fructose.





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