08 March 2009

"Classic" versus "modified" carb loading

In the 1960s Scandinavian scientists researched carb loading and found you could doulbe glycogen stores by doing the following (1p270):

  • Two sessions of intense exercise to exhaustion to deplete glycogen
  • Two days of less than 10 percent carbs to effectively "starve" muscle
  • Three days of rest while taking in 90 percent or more carbs

While certainly effective, this"classical" version of carb loading does have drawbacks. The low-carb sesssions leave you suffering from irritability and dizziness and you lose good training (1p270).

But modern research has proven that runners can reap benefits of carb loading while avoiding adverse effects (1p270):

  1. Perform reduced intensity training for five days followed by resting one day.
  2. Take in 50 percent carbs for first three days.
  3. Take in 70 percent carbs for next three days.

The modified version has shown to increase glycogen stores 20-40 percent, effectively increasing performance just as well as the classical version.

Reference List

1. Gropper SS, Smith JL, Groff JL. Advanced Nutrition and Human Metabolism. Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth, 2009.

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