August 7, 2017
More on carbohydrtaes for endurance (not muscle building)
Now that endurance athletes have preloaded their muscles with glucose/glycogen days before the event, what do they do dietarily the day of and during the event?
This is where we need to understand nature a bit. When you run a race away from a bull, your body releases chemicals called catecholamines which alters the physiology of your metabolism to reduce the insulin breakdown for energy. In this way your body makes as much sugar available as possible to feed your muscle in order to evade the bull.
Based on this principle, it is clear from the research that during a long exercise event like a bike ride, soccer game or marathon, you can consume high glysemic foods like honey, dark chocolate or sports goo/drink to enhance muscle wrok while you are exercising since the sumpathtic nervous system is in control and driving all sugar toward the skeletal system. Doing this same action prior to the beginning of exercise will cause and insulin spike and be counter productive to the goal of maximal effectiveness as insulin will want to store the suagr as fat instead of keeping it available for muscle use.
During long endurance exerise events, the goal is to avoid break down muscle in order to make sugar via a pathway called gluconeogenesis. Thus, it is imperative that you have this strong supply of fat and sugar to burn during the event.
When do we consume carbohydrates before a race or game event? Depending on the time the event, I suaully recomment 3 hours to digest a small to meduim meal on race day. Therefore, if you have 8 am race, skip the meal and grab some trail mix and then consume a fast acting sugar during the endurance event. If the race in at noon then have a full breakfast of high quality food like eggs and bacon with fresh fruit and yogurt. I would still consume the fast acting sugar during the race based on the above principles.