Someone asked me about Carbohydrate Loading (or Carbo Loading) today so I figured I would post some information on here for everyone to digest (no pun intended).
What is Carbo Loading?
Carbo loading is the practise of manipulating carbohydrate intake in the diet to maximize glycogen storage before a competition.
Why do People Carbo Load
Stored carbohydrate is called glycogen. In turn, glycogen is responsible for providing us with energy during when participating in endurance activities that last 30 to 90 minutes. When our glycogen stores are depleted, performance is diminished. In addition, the reduced the blood sugar levels (glucose) may also cause fatigue.
The idea behind carbo-loading is to maximize the body's supply of glycogen to ensure that the athlete has enough fuel to perform at a high level.
As a side note: some research has shown that performance can also be improved by drinking sugary drinks during competition. I can just hear everyone running to the vending machines to buy one of those Sport drinks (that shall remain nameless here)... that's not what I'm talking about! I'm talking about sugar in water!
So, the point of this post is to provide you with some facts about Carbohydrate Loading (carbo-loading or carb-loading). Whether or not it makes sense to you to carbo-load is case specific and a registered nutritionist should be consulted. You should also review the research to see how disparate some of the conclusions actually are.
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