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Carbohydrates: Endurance

Traditional sports science states that carbohydrates are our body’s primary fuel source. What this means is the high-carb foods we eat like rice, bread, fruits and vegetables are stored as muscle glycogen and used to fuel our runs, swims and cycles. But — on a basic level and putting high fat diets to one side for the moment — there’s a widespread trend at the moment to train fasted and on an empty stomach. Closely related to the commonly held belief that you shouldn’t eat before you swim in fear you’ll sink like a stone or be stricken down mid-run with cramps, basically too many athletes are training hungry and unhappy.

But research published in the International Journal of Sports Nutrition should change all that. Studying the effect carbohydrate intake has on people’s 30km running time, scientists monitored performance when subjects consumed a high-carbohydrate sporks drink before racing compared to when they just drank tap water.

 

What did they find? In summary, “Running speed was maintained throughout the race in the high-carbohydrate trial, whereas a decrease in the running speed occurred after 25km in the water trial.” Essentially what this means is around the 25km mark they were running low on muscle glycogen and therefore running out of speed, strength and stamina. This led scientists to conclude, “This study shows that performance time for a 30-km road race is improved after ingesting a carbohydrate drink.”

In summary, I will be (happily) “carbing up” with Protein Granola, Protein Popcorn and Oats starting today and continuing right through to the event itself. Not only are these low glycemic index carbohydrate that provide a slow, sustained release of energy to the muscles, but you can mix them with anything from natural yoghurt to Zero Syrups in a huge bowl of nutritional awesomeness.

 

 

Fuel Your Endurance...

 

 

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