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Shaping carbohydrate availability to raise running performance

Clutch your true potential

Those who are into running long distance activity know how crucial carbs to avert the physical shutdown of this energy-less state. Every cell in our body requires energy to function, so you must have a solid source of energy even when carbohydrates aren’t immediately available. To provide that solid energy, the body stores any excess carbohydrates usually as a compound called glycogen. Another thing people keep wondering, which one is obesogenic (tending to cause obesity) either consumed in liquid form or consumed in solid form?

The debate about whether energy consumed in liquid form is more obesogenic than energy consumed in solid form remains vague. But some findings suggest that liquid energy is more obesogenic than solid energy, in particular, SSB (Sugar-Sweetened Beverages), but not other beverages types. So let’s do both things, get solid carbs and limit your liquid form source of energy especially SSB.

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Whether you’re an athlete or not, there is an important aspect of training or a pre-race routine must be considered, it is carb-loading or carbo-loading (ensuring decent carb absorption). It is a game plan used by endurance athletes, such as runners, to augment the storage of glycogen (or energy) in their muscles and liver. Many endurance athletes adopt foodstuff with low glycemic indices for carbo-loading due to their minimal effect on serum glucose level. Low glycemic foods commonly include grains, fruits, vegetables, and whole wheat pasta. Don’t be surprised if you have seen your favorites marathoners and triathlon athletes have enormous pasta dinners the night before the race. One thing to remember, extensive portions before a race can, however, if your digestive system has not had the time to process the food regiment, it will decrease race-day performance.

There is also a new carbo-loading regiment developed by the scientist at the University of Western Australia calls for a typical diet with light training until the day before the race. One day before the race, the athlete performs a very short, extremely high-intensity workout (such as biking, jump roping, and jumping lunges) then consumes 12 gram of carbohydrate per kilogram of lean mass over the next 24 hours. The regiment resulted in a 90% increase in glycogen storage when compared to before the carbo-loading, which is tantamount to or a higher than the results achieved with other 2 day – 6 day carbo-loading systems.

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Have you ever heard of ‘train low’? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. The concept of train low is simple, you train in low glycogen or depleted state, and compete in a high glycogen or loaded state. It is an effort to force the body to learn how to burn fat as a fuel. Meaning to say, when you introduce carbohydrates, they won’t be used for energy. Instead, they will be stored for later use as glycogen which also means that your body would not use its supply of glycogen until you need it the most. You could go through a high fat-low carbohydrate diet during training or you could train in a naturally lower glycogen or fasted state, such as first thing in the morning before eating. But remember, if you go through the high-intensity exercise, or exercise for a prolonged time, train low is not for you. It could decrease your time to the finish line and increase your perceived fatigue.

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Source: Gregor Flickr

Because of the lack of practical value of train low, a team of researchers attempted to build a system that didn’t just work in the lab but actually, boost endurance performance and here comes the term of ‘sleep low’. The general idea is you sleep in, eat normally all day, then do a fully fueled hard interval workout. You go to sleep without refill carbs (except proteins), letting your body acclimate while you sleep on your nice bed. The next morning, you do an easy-paced, fasted run. The results so far have been exciting. The experiment group showed improvement in a running time trial and become more appropriate at a lower intensity, improving exercise efficiently and decreasing anticipated effort. Many studies show this sleep low method got a lot of positive outcomes.

If you are interested in clutch your true potential performance, the sleep low system may be the best for your trial, just use it sensibly.

 

 

Feature Image Origin: Dave Haygarth Flickr
Under Commercial Use Allowed license

 

 

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