Sep 19

Carbohydrates and the High-Performance Athlete

bikeIn past posts, we discussed the importance of fat and protein intake for the endurance athlete, in today’s post, we will highlight the importance of carbohydrates and how this food group can enhance performance.

Before a big event, athletes of all levels typically “carb load” the night before a performance. While this is common practice, some may be unaware why carbohydrates aid in providing energy and improving performance. Our team at RPM² offers an overview of how carbohydrates affect the body during athletic performance along with a few suggestions for healthy sources of carbohydrates.

Food is Fuel

Just as a car requires gasoline to operate, athletes require proper nutrition to increase energy and avoid premature fatigue during performance. Carbohydrates are an excellent fuel source because they are digested quickly. In fact, carbohydrates are the first source your body utilizes for energy. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, athletes who engage in heavy to extreme training should consumer 3.2 to 5.5 grams of carbohydrates per pound in body weight. Carbohydrates provide more energy per unit of oxygen than fat, thus making this food group a great energy source.

All Carbs are Not Created Equal

Athletes should avoid simple, highly processed carbohydrates and instead opt for complex carbohydrates such as brown rice, whole-wheat pasta, and whole grain breads. Not only do complex carbohydrates offer more fiber, which helps the body process food and eliminate waste more efficiently, they also support cardiovascular health. Other great carbohydrate sources include sweet potatoes, bananas (which are also high in potassium), and low fat yogurt.

In addition to helping athletes maximize performance with our state-of-the-art footbeds, RPM² strives to foster a sense of community for all endurance athletes through our blog. Check back with us for more information on nutrition and injury prevention.

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