“Gasoline for Sports”. Or how many carbohydrates do you really need?

The question of optimal nutrition is always up to date in sport. Either to increase performance, build muscle or to keep your body weight under control. Of particular interest, especially in endurance sports, is the question of sufficient carbohydrate intake (CHO). Opinions often differ, but a recently published article by an Anglo-Australian working group headed by James Morton brings another point of view.

The authors assume that a certain emptying of the CHO stores must take place above a “threshold value” in order to achieve adjustments at the cellular level and an improvement in performance. This circumstance is likely to be of particular importance in the well-known “train low” phases in which athletes complete their training units with depleted glycogen stores. The problem is that if the CHO is depleted, no corresponding training intensities are possible.

The scientists emphasize the importance of an individual CHO supply that is adapted to the requirements of the training. This is intended to optimize “fat metabolism training” (training units below the first changeover point of the heart rate performance curve, the lactate performance curve or ventilation) and, on the other hand, to enable intensive training (training at the anaerobic threshold or above).

The key to this is a CHO supply that is adapted to the daily requirements of training. Are e.g. Within a training week long units with low intensity alternating with intensive loads in the foreground, the CHO supply can be designed as follows.

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Example: Training in combination with nutrition

Day 1 : Several hours of high-intensity exercise, interval character in the threshold area and above; CHO intake is high before, during, and after exercise. However, the CHO intake is reduced in the evening.

Day 2 : Several hours of low-intensity exercise in the area of ​​the first threshold; low CHO intake before and during training. The CHO intake after training and in the evening is then again high.

Day 3 : Several hours of high-intensity exercise, interval character on the threshold and above; high CHO intake before, medium CHO intake during and high CHO intake after training. The dinner then again shows an average CHO intake.

Day 4 : Regenerative training unit below or at the first changeover point; under the threshold; low CHO intake before and during exercise. A high CHO intake after training and in the evening.

It should be taken into account that the relevant experience values ​​come from competitive sport and also the question: “What does a low, medium or high CHO intake mean? ? “Can only be answered individually . Nevertheless, this concept of the CHO intake adjusted from day to day seems to offer advantages in optimizing the muscular and metabolic adaptation to the training process.

A necessary prerequisite for this, however, is knowledge of the respective threshold ranges of heart rate, lactate and / or ventilatory parameters. With the latter, the demand or consumption of CHO during exercise can also be determined very well directly. Only with performance diagnostics and the specifications derived from it for controlling the training will the training be really efficient in combination with an adapted diet.

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