Carbo Load and Bike Race
There are a lot of things to consider when joining a bike racing competition. In fact, a lot of the bike races are not really won during the race themselves but through the long months of preparations. This is the reason why a number of specific exercises were developed in order to prepare the body for long distance or sprint bike races. But other than exercise, there should also be a specific diet that athletes can use.
Demystifying Carbo Loading
There are only three macronutrients that you need to know as an athlete who competes in bike races. There’s protein, fats and carbohydrates. Protein builds your muscles while fat will provide absorption of fat soluble vitamins as well as provide additional fuel to the body. But have you ever heard of the term carbo loading? Carbohydrate loading refers to a strategy used by endurance athletes in order to maximize the storage of glycogen in the muscles. Glycogen will then be used by the body for added ATP during the event of long distance races.
When is Carbo Loading Recommended?
If you are going to participate in an event that takes more than 90 minutes, it is suggested to perform this as part of the regimen. Marathon runners and long distance cyclists are, in fact, getting the maximum benefits of carbo loading in order to provide a so-called second wind to the body when everything seems already exhausted.
How to Carbo Load?
Foods that you can choose from when it comes to carbo loading are those with low glycemic indices. This reduces the serum glucose levels. These foods include wheat pastas and grains. This is the reason why marathon and triathlon athletes have a large sum of pasta during the night. However, it is important that these foods should be consumed a night before the event. When you eat heavy meals during the competition, it will definitely be detrimental to your performance. The digestive system needs at least two to four hours to process the food completely.
Different Schools of Thought
The 1980s school of thought regarding carbo loading method included increased carbohydrate intake up to about 70% and decreased training three days prior to the competition. However, there are newer ways on how carbo loading can be done. A new carbo loading system developed in the University of Western Australia formulated light training and normal diet until the day before the race. On the day before the race, the athlete will have to perform a high intensity workout for a short duration of time. After, he or she will then have to consume 12 grams of carbohydrates per kilogram of his or her mass on the next 24 hours. This method spiked the glycogen storage by up to 90%.
On a final note though, you want to stick with pastas and grains in order to get the most glycogen storage in your muscles. A lot of people try to use fruits and sweets as their way to carbo load. However, fructose and simple sugar will only limit performance as it gets metabolized into liver glycogen.