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Fuel your workout the right way

Put simply, carbohydrates are the energy that fuels your exercise. Whether you’re training for strength or endurance, toning or adding bulk, you need carbohydrates to keep you running and to get the most out of your workout. Carbs are broken down by the body into smaller sugars, which are either used immediately as energy or stored in the muscles as glycogen, ready to be burned up whenever you start your workout.

WHY CARBOHYDRATES ARE SO IMPORTANT FOR PERFORMANCE

  • Carbs are the primary source of fuel for your body during physical activity
  • They provide immediate energy, and can also be stored in muscles to be burned up later
  • Without adequate carbs in the diet, the body will use protein as fuel instead, which can prevent muscles from growing and recovering

WHEN TO

USE IT

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All athletes should be consuming carbs regularly throughout the day as part of their meals, to avoid running out of glycogen while working out.
Those looking to carbo-load should start 2 or 3 days before their event for maximum impact, and continue eating a carb-heavy diet until the night before the event.
Endurance athletes should also consider getting carbs during a workout to avoid depleting their glycogen stores.

HOW MUCH

TO TAKE

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The average person can store about 450 grams of carbs in their body for use during exercise later. Depending on your body size, you may need more or less carbs to fuel your exercise. Consuming too many carbs will result in your body storing them as fat, while too few will cause you to hit the wall partway through your workout.

DAILY NEEDS
VARIED BY
FITNESS

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Your carbohydrate needs will vary by your workout routine.
endurance-icon Endurance athletes should focus on getting complex carbs, like those found in bread, rice and pasta. These carbs take longer to digest and give a slower, longer boost of energy.
strength-icon Short, high-intensity athletes should aim for the simple sugars in fruit and sports drinks, which are converted to energy very quickly.
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