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Carbohydrates: The Master Fuel

Did you know carbohydrates are the single most important source of energy for your body? There is absolutely no doubt carbs are critical and crucial for optimal athletic performance!

Fizzling out during training? That’s because our body stores carbohydrates, namely glucose, as glycogen in the liver to maintain blood glucose levels between meals and in our muscles to serve as a rapidly available source of energy. Therefore, adequate carbohydrate intake is crucial for you to perform optimally. The quantity, source and timing of ingesting carbohydrates can lead you to a high-energy, high-performance training session.

When I’m preparing personalized nutrition plans, it’s a lot of math. Your ideal daily carb intake is determined by your body weight and the percentage of total calories ingested per day, so … 3 to 12 grams of carbs per 1 kilo of body weight is a general recommendation for athletes depending on the level of intensity of training, personal preference, and the competition calendar and 50 -65% of your daily caloric intake should be carbs, also depending on intensity of training, medical conditions and the sports discipline itself.

Not all sport is the same. When the amount of training increases, especially for endurance athletes such as rowers, cyclers, triathletes, cross-country skiers etc, the percentage of carbohydrates in their daily diet can go over the recommended range - sometimes as high as 70-75% to ensure the muscles are “topped off” and the glycogen stores are full. As for recreational athletes or individuals with certain medical conditions such as diabetes, carbohydrate intake at the low end of the range is more appropriate.

Need to know which carbs to include in your meal plans and optimize your carbohydrate intake? Get in touch today!

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