by Kerith Duncanson www.helpyourself.com.au
Carbohydrate is the ultimate fuel source for exercise. It is found in the blood as glucose and stored in muscles and liver as linked sugars called glycogen.
The level of sugar in your blood stays about the same, even during exercise. GLYCOGEN stores are used to keep the blood sugar level constant as you use up energy during exercise. When GLYCOGEN stores are depleted, fatigue sets in and performance suffers. The amount of GLYCOGEN needed depends on the duration, type and intensity of exercise you do and how often you do it.
To maintain adequate GLYCOGEN stores for training, runners should aim to consume at least 50% of their calories as carbohydrates. During periods of heavy training this should be increased to 60% of total energy intake.
CARBOHYDRATE REQUIREMENT CALCULATOR
Normal daily carbohydrate requirement: 3 – 4.5 grams per kilogram of body weight.
Sports Training: 6 – 8 grams of carbohydrate per kilogram of weight.
Calorie counters that you can buy at supermarkets; newsagents and bookstores contain carbohydrate counters. Buy one and add up how much carbohydrate you are consuming each day.
Remember, low carbohydrate intake can lead to poor performance and fatigue. It can also contribute to illness as our immune systems use glucose as their fuel too.