The 3 Keys of an Effective Training Nutrition Plan

Key #2: Carbohydrates

Simply put, you will perform better when you add efficient carbohydrates to any training longer than 60 minutes. Many athletes can push through without negative affects until 90 minutes. My rule of thumb: Add carbs if training at high intensity for 60+ minutes or at any intensity for 90+ minutes.

Your body needs fuel during training from some source. If you want to improve performance and train with any sort of high intensity, it usually works best to provide that fuel source in the form of efficient carbs. If you're goals are more weight loss driven, you can reduce your carbs and oxidize or burn more fat.

More: Sports Nutrition Tips to Help You Lose Weight and Perform Better

But beware, omitting fuel and oxidizing fat doesn't necessarily mean fat loss in the long term as you may not train as well or may overeat later in the day because you're under-nourished. It simply means you'll oxidize more during that workout.

Weight Loss

Performance

Competitive

Carbohydrate Needs:
< 90 minutes:
No carbs necessary. Performance may suffer slightly.

90 minutes or >:
20-40 grams of carbs per hour

3+ hours training:
Follow the guidelines for performance.

Carbohydrate Needs:
60 minutes or <, low or moderate intensity:
No carbs necessary
 
60 minutes at high intensity or 90+ minutes at any intensity:
60+ grams of carbs per hour
 
5+ hours training:
90 grams of carbs per hour

Carbohydrate Needs:
60 minutes or <, low or moderate intensity:
No carbs necessary
 
60 minutes at high intensity or 90+ minutes at any intensity:
60-90 grams of carbs per hour
 
5+ hours training:
90 grams of carbs per hour

Carbohydrate Choices:
Whole-food-type energy bars, banana or small pieces of baked sweet potato.

Carbohydrate Choices:
18-24 oz. full nutrition sports drinks plus one carb option—gels, chews, bars with 25-30 grams of carbs—per hour. 

5+ hours training:
If aiming for 90 grams of carbs per hour, have two carb options per hour. Eat a whole, solid food every 3 hours.

Carbohydrate Choices:
Follow the performance guidelines. If you're aiming for 90 grams per hour, 2 carbs options are usually needed.

5+ hours training:
Use a concentrate drink or 2 carb options per hour. If pace/aide allows, have a whole, solid food option every 3 hours.

Comments:
Although overall performance may suffer slightly at these carb levels, minimizing carbs will best promote fat loss.

Comments:
Vary your carb sources (glucose and dextrose plus fructose). The body can absorb 60 grams of glucose and 30 grams of fructose per hour.

Comments:
See the comments listed for the performance group.

More: Balance Carbohydrates for Better Performance

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