Do you ever feel nauseous during your workout, yet can’t stomach a small mid-workout carb intake? For those partaking in longer-endurance styled workouts, keeping your body effectively fueled can be a real struggle. To help you understand the best ways to maintain peak performance during endurance events, here’s a quick guide to fueling for endurance.
What types of macronutrients are good for endurance?
Generally, the fundamental macronutrients to endurance are carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are a key fuel source for exercise, especially during prolonged continuous or high-intensity exercise. The body stores carbohydrates as glycogen in the muscles and liver, however, its storage capacity is limited.
When an athletes glycogen storage is depleted, the results include fatigue, impaired performance and a reduction in immune system function. Subsequently, in order to prepare your body for an endurance event, individuals should plan their carbohydrate intake around the event, or partake in ‘carb-loading’. Similarly, for events based on longevity, it is advised that athletes have some form of carbohydrate intake during the workout. Additionally, a small protein intake prior to a workout can help provide your muscles with fuel and prevent unwanted muscle breakdown (catabolism).
For more information on the importance of pre-workout protein, click here. Prior to a workout, generally avoids fats as they can slow down the carbohydrate and protein absorption process.
How much carbohydrate do I need?
An individual’s carbohydrate requirements are dependent on a wide range of factors, including size, body composition goals, environmental conditions, training frequency, training duration, and training intensity. Since an individual’s training activities generally change on a daily basis, their carbohydrate intake should fluctuate to reflect this.
On high-intensity training days, more carbs should be consumed, and on light/non training days carb intake should be reduced. Nevertheless, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends active individuals consume approximately 0.7 grams of carbohydrates per kilogram of body weight per hour of endurance exercise.
True Fuel is an all-encompassing formulation that is designed to assist fuelling your body and working muscles during strenuous exercise. The key ingredients and specific dosages in its formula are based on reviewing scientific literature and evidence-based practice to ensure the product works when you need it most. True Fuel is made up of 4 premium ingredients designed to fuel your body for longer. Low GI carb Palatinose™provides a sustained release of energy; Premium electrolytes restore the balance of fluids in the body to ensure it continues to function at its peak; Essential amino acids (EAA’s) maintain a positive protein balance to fuel muscles during prolonged exercise; And 300mg of pomegranate extract (Pomanox P30), rich in bioactive polyphenols, improves time to exhaustion and increases ventilatory threshold. It can be incorporated as part of a supplement regime to assist recreational athletes and exercise enthusiasts who participate in high-intensity training, endurance training and continuous/strenuous sport and exercise.
Who should consume carbohydrates mid-workout?
The importance of a mid-workout carbohydrate intake depends on the type of training you are doing. If you’re training for less than an hour, and have had a sufficient pre-workout meal, you can probably skip the mid-workout carb boost. Similarly, provided your pre-workout nutrition was adequate, you probably won’t require any mid-workout carbohydrates for long, low-intensity workouts.
However, if you are training moderate-heavily for more than an hour, mid-workout carbohydrates are very beneficial. Athletes that are most likely to fall into this category include cyclists, distance runners and individuals involved in high-intensity team sports such as football.
The replenishment of carbohydrates during prolonged exercise can benefit sports performance both physically and mentally. Not only will it delay the decline in exercise intensity, it will also delay the decline in an individual’s concentration and mental skills. Subsequently, it can be said for athletes in this category, mid-workout carbohydrate boosts are a must.
What carbohydrates should be consumed?
The short answer, as previously suggested, is carbohydrates that are high on the glycemic index (high GI). These carbohydrates are mostly ‘simple carbs’ and have higher levels of sugars than foods that are low GI. Don't be deterred by the sugar content. When consumed properly, these sugars won’t have an adverse effect on any weight loss or physique goals; rather they will simply help you perform at your best for longer.
Generally speaking, carbohydrate infused fluids and gels are better than bar-form carbohydrates as they are more easily digested. In terms of a specific product, True Fuel is recommended. The unique blend is designed specifically for endurance athletes who train for long periods of time such as cyclists, long-distance runners and ironmen. The formula comprises slow release low GI carbs for sustained energy and a specialised electrolyte blend to optimise rehydration during activity. Basically, True Fuel will provide you with all your mid-workout carbohydrate, electrolyte, and mineral needs.
- Carbohydrates and Protein are important pre-workout meals, especially endurance. Avoid fats in this period as they can slow down the absorption process.
- The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends active individuals consume approximately 0.7 grams of carbohydrates per kilogram of body weight per hour of endurance exercise.
- If training moderately-heavily for periods longer than an hour in duration, a mid-workout carbohydrate boost will be especially beneficial.
- Intra-workout carbohydrates can help maintain both mental and physical performance for longer.
- Have high GI carbohydrates during your workout. Avoid having low GI carbohydrates during workouts as they take too long to digest.
- Try True Fuel for a good quality mid-workout carbohydrate boost.
- Before making any dramatic changes in your diet and nutrition consult your local physician.