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Carbohydrate Loading

Simply put, carbohydrate loading is basically just giving your body extra fat to store.

To increase their endurance just before an event, some athletes follow a diet and exercise regimen called carbohydrate loading. Recent research shows that this is no more effective than cutting back on your workouts.

Sugar and fat are stored inside of muscle cells to be used as fuel during exercise. When a muscle runs out of its stored sugar, called glycogen, it hurts to use it and you will find it very difficult to coordinate muscle movements. The more glycogen you store in a muscle before you exercise, the longer you can exercise that muscle.

Carbohydrate loading means to do a long workout seven days before competition to use up your stored muscle sugar. On the next three days, you eat very little carbohydrate, and for the last three days, you eat regular meals plus lots of extra carbohydrates: pastries, bread, fruits, pasta and vegetables.

Several studies show that trained runners can load their muscles maximally with glycogen just by cutting back on their workouts for three days and eating a little extra food. Exhaustive exercise three or fewer days prior to competition will not increase endurance beyond that. Carbohydrate loading does not increase endurance unless you are a highly-conditioned athlete. Eating extra carbohydrates will not store extra muscle glycogen unless the enzymes in muscles are primed by regular hard exercise. Carbohydrate loading in non-competitive athletes stores extra fat.

For a free copy of the Mirkin Report on the latest breakthroughs in medicine, fitness and nutrition, send a stamped, self-addressed envelope to The Mirkin Report, 5618 Shields Drive, Bethesda, MD 20817. Boylston Street, Brookline, MA 02167.

 
   
 
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