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Fuelling your Body

The fuel requirements for events of up to about 90 minutes in duration can be met by the normal muscle glycogen stores of a well trained individual. (Glycogen is the body’s ready source of energy stored in the muscles.) To fuel up, all you need is 24-36 hours of rest or lighter training, and a higher carbohydrate diet. Although a high carbohydrate diet should already be on your menu, you may like to reinforce the focus on “fuel foods” on the day prior to competition.

What is carbohydrate loading? Who needs to use this strategy?

Carbohydrate loading is a special strategy used to “overload” muscle glycogen stores before events lasting more than 90 minutes, which are performed with high intensity, with little opportunities for eating and drinking during an event – for example, Ironman Marathon or Triathlon. Expanding your refueling technique, including 3 days of rest / cone and consuming large amounts of carbohydrates, you can increase the amount of muscle fuel to 150-200% of their normal level. This extra fuel may be needed at the end of these lengthy events to prevent you from “hitting the wall.”
However, there is no advantage to having higher levels of fuel stored if your activity does not demand it. Furthermore, your activity may not allow or require a 3 day taper. So, despite the widespread recognition of carbohydrate loading as a sports nutrition tactic, it is really only useful for a number of endurance and ultra-endurance events. Unfortunately some people equate carbohydrate loading with overeating, particularly with high fat favourite foods such as chocolate, rich cakes and deserts, and pastries. This approach is not sensible and can result in a bloated feeling and excessive weight gain. Instead, stick with fluids and carbohydrate foods that are low fat and nutrient rich.

How often to take breaks between workouts

How often to take breaks between workouts? Ordinary gym visitors (amateur athletes), we would advise to arrange a weekly rest from any workouts every 2 months. Of course, much depends on the intensity of the load – over a month of excessive workouts you can get overtraining. Therefore, we recommend exercising more than three times a week, and also monitor your sleep – so that it is not shorter than 8 hours, and your diet – you should get enough protein, carbohydrates and healthy fats.

As for professional-level athletes, they can arrange rest much less frequently, since they use pharmacological support and the food is all right. Many professionals do not rest at all if they are preparing for a competition, but absolutely all of them have a great rest after the competitive season – and their rest usually lasts much longer than one week.

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