Eating carbs for exercise

Our bodies need fuel when we exercise. The fuel our bodies use is glycogen, energy made from carbohydrates that provides us with that energy. Glycogen also helps us to maintain our water levels.

In order to increase their performance, many endurance athletes will use a technique known as ‘carb loading’ before a big event. This means they carefully fill their body with carbohydrates so they have plenty of glycogen stored to fuel them on their race.

Not enough glycogen can mean athletes literally run out of energy, so carb loading is key in aiding the performance of people set to run or perform for over 90 minutes.

Before you train, whether you are attending a martial arts class or going out for a one hour run, it is a good idea to eat carbohydrate-rich foods like porridge, wholegrain pasta and brown rice beforehand, as carbohydrates will help to fuel your exercise.

But how long should you wait after eating before running or training? A lot of nutritionists recommend that you wait between one and four hours after you have eaten a meal or snack before you exercise, as this gives your body time to digest the food.


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