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Video - Why You Should Stop Carb Loading

February 25, 2020 2 min read

Video - Why You Should Stop Carb Loading


Card loading really isn't necessary for anyone competing in any event under roughly 75-90 minutes!

The idea of carb loading persists, despite it not being necessary (and coming with some performance-decreasing side effects) for the majority of active and athletic people. 

Now that my kids are in sports, guess what? All of the parents end up hosting dinners with ‘carb loading’ as the dietary theme. We’re still doing it - and I know a lot of races still host the pasta feed dinner the night before. 

The idea behind carb loading is to ensure that your glycogen stores are at max capacity before an event. In other words, you’ve got a full tank of gas. In some instances, depleting glycogen and reloading can boost stores by 10-15% more.

But, the deplete-load cycle upon which carb loading is based hasn’t been shown to be necessary or helpful.

One needs to race at max intensity for at least 75-90 minutes before glycogen levels become limited. If you’re doing anything shorter than that, there’s zero need to load up on the carbs the night before. 

I’m talking to you, 5 and 10k runners! I’m also talking to you, triathletes whenever you’re training under an hour at a time!

Rather, it’s a better idea to have carbohydrates available during an event that’s longer than 75 minutes.

Loading on carbs also loads on water - some say as much as 2-3% of your total body weight. Every additional gram of glycogen you store, you also hold onto another 2.7 grams of water. Going into a race water-logged is no way to compete!

The best strategy is to make carbohydrates available during an event and to take them in while you exercise. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

Do yourself a favor, and skip the carb-bloat dinner the night before.

Oh and this video doesn’t even touch the whole concept of fat adaptation - that’s a whole separate subject! 

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