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Should I do carb loading before my cycling event?

Yes, carb loading can significantly enhance your performance for prolonged, high-intensity endurance activities. To take action, plan your carb loading activity and follow your meal plan in the FoodCoach app.

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Written by: The Athlete’s FoodCoach, on 17-01-2024
Panckes with dripping syrup and some fruits

Why should I do carb loading?

  1. Increased glycogen levels:Carbs can be stored in the body as glycogen. Carb loading before a race helps you supercompensate your glycogen stores, ensuring that you have ample energy for your event.
  2. Improved performance: Carb loading allows athletes to sustain a higher intensity for a more extended period, leading to better overall performance in your event.

How do I get the carb loading on point?

The more trained you are, the less days you may need to carb load properly. In general, 2 days of carb loading prior to your event while reducing training volume can be beneficial to boost performance. Use the FoodCoach app to plan your carb days and structure your meals. Focus on:

  1. Maintain energy balance: Carb loading does not stand for “over eating”. Following the energy and carb intake guidelines from FoodCoach helps you to avoid energy imbalance and undesirable changes in body composition.
  2. Swap non-carbs for carbs: emporarily swap your fat- and protein intake partly to carbs. Especially fat intake can be kept low for a short period of time to make sure you are not in a positive energy balance.
  3. Spread your carb intake: To decrease the risk of gastrointestinal discomfort, try to spread your carb intake over the day as much as possible. You can use the FoodCoach app to structure your carb-rich meals and snacks.
  4. Stay hydrated: Glycogen is stored with water. Make sure to drink enough fluids to keep hydrated before your race. You may check the color of your urine for self-monitoring.
  5. Consider sports nutrition products: When facing difficulties in getting your carb balance right, consider sports nutrition products as they often are high in carbs and low in protein and fat.
  6. Prepare your pre-race nutrition: When the final days are coming up, already prepare your race day nutrition meals like breakfast and pre-race snacks, to make sure you have all well in advance and avoid stress before the race.

It's crucial to tailor your carb loading to your individual needs, activity level, and preferences for the best results. Do you want to discover how carb loading works in practice? The FoodCoach App will guide you to bring focus and translate your carb loading recommendations into real food and meals.

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Popular carb loading meals and snacks

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