100 years ago, we believed that beef and Popeye's spinach were the most important part of an athlete's diet. Today, pasta, bread and rice are considered the most important part of an athlete's diet. Athletes are often advised to take in enough carbohydrates before, during and after exercise.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, carbohydrate intake has been linked to sports performance. Not only in endurance sports performance is the importance of carbohydrate intake seen, but also in high short intensity training the importance of carbohydrates has been proven. Therefore, carbohydrates have become an important part of an athlete's diet.
But what about this in practice? Each week for the next 5 weeks we will post a blog on the different aspects of carbohydrates on sports performance.
We will talk about:
- Blog 1: What are carbohydrates?
- Blog 2: Carbohydrate intake in the hours before a race or workout
- Blog 3: Carbohydrate intake during races or workouts
- Blog 4: Carbohydrate intake after competition or training
- Blog 5: Carbohydrate intake in the days before a race or workout
Let's start by explaining what carbohydrates really are and what you need them for.
Carbohydrates are sugars, starches and fiber. In your intestines, this is converted into glucose. The glucose is then used again to be converted into energy in your muscles. Only the rate at which carbohydrates are converted into glucose is not the same for all carbohydrates. To perform as good as possible, you want to use the absorption rate of carbohydrates. Thus, some carbohydrates are absorbed quickly and others slowly.
So slow carbohydrates are absorbed more slowly by your body. This is because they often have longer molecular chains. Your digestion breaks these chains down into shorter pieces and finally into separate glucose molecules. So while breaking them up, a small amount of glucose is always released during this process. The longer the chain the more time your body needs to convert all the carbohydrates into energy, so the longer the energy release. So during an endurance workout it's best to use slow carbohydrates.
Fast carbohydrates, often with shorter molecular chains, are absorbed quickly by your body and therefore release energy quickly. Fast carbs provide a short-term energy boost by releasing a lot of glucose into the blood stream. This causes a spike in blood sugar. After this boost, your blood sugar level can quickly drop again and you may experience a dip. Therefore, it is important that you handle these carbohydrates correctly to avoid a dip during exercise.
Our endurancebar contains a mix of slow and fast carbohydrates and provides both a boost in your blood sugar, and a nice gradual flow of energy. Because of this mix you will prevent a dip with this product. The endurance bar is ideal to use at the beginning or during a training or competition.
The Pro isotonic gel contains mostly fast carbohydrates. A big advantage of this is that you quickly get lots of energy. To avoid a dip during exercise, we recommend using the gel towards the end of the training or race. The gel will give you an extra energy boost and will help you fly over the finish line!
In the coming weeks, we will tell you more about carbohydrates and how it can help you get the most out of your athletic performance.