Are you participating in a long-duration, intensive event? If so, the carb-loading strategy may be just what you need. Carb-loading is generally understood to be the ‘loading up and increasing muscle glycogen stores’ Or put more simply, it’s about maximising your energy stores.
An easy and effective carb-loading strategy is to consume a diet high in carbohydrate (7-12g carbohydrates per kg body weight per day) in the 3 days leading up to a competition in combination with a noticeably reduced training schedule. For the ‘carb-loading phase’, the best meal options are carbohydrate-rich foods that are easily digestible, such as pasta, rice, mashed potato, dried fruit and fruit smoothies. Meal tip: Load up your plate with two more spoonfuls of rice or pasta than you would normally eat. Instead of low-calorie soft fruit (such as berries), opt for a banana as a dessert and as a snack between meals, grab a PowerBar NATURAL ENERGY CEREAL bar or eat a few raisins on the go.
Essential info: Carbohydrate loading causes more water to be stored in the body (carbohydrates are stored together with water in the glycogen reserves), thus increasing your body weight. That means that you’ll need to carry more weight around with you. Be sure to try out and practice your own carbohydrate loading strategy before long training sessions. This will help you optimize the right types and quantities of foods and beverages you‘ll personally need to successfully carb-load, and will also help you get a sense of the performance benefits you can expect as a result.
Want to know how to create optimal high-carb meals? The PowerBar® plate model offers a meal planning approach that is simple and helps give you an idea about the right balance between the food groups. For example, for main meals which are high in carbs, a big bowl of cornflakes with banana and low-fat yoghurt, mashed potato with slices of carrots and ham or pasta with tomato sauce and a sprinkling of parmesan cheese.
- Easily-digestible grain products (e.g. pasta, white bread, instant oat-meal, cornflakes, cereals), rice, quinoa, amaranth, millet, potatoes
- Fish, seafood, lean meats (e.g. lean beef, veal or lamb), poultry, eggs, low-fat milk and dairy products
- Seasonal or frozen, easily-digestible cooked vegetables, carbohydrate-rich ripe fruits (e.g. banana), fresh vegetable and fruit juices /smoothies in a great variety and in different colors (e.g. red = tomato, yellow = carrot), dried fruits (e.g. raisins)
In addition: Healthy fats e.g. refined rapeseed oil for cooking or virgin olive oil to prepare cold meals in small quantities