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  • Writer's pictureJulien Chamoun

Carbohydrates and the Athlete

Updated: Feb 7, 2023

Carbohydrates are one of the most important nutrients for high intensity athletes. They are the main source of energy that fuels your body during physical activity. Without enough carbohydrates, your body won't have the energy it needs to perform at its best. This is often why low carb diets are not ideal for highly physical individuals.


Carbohydrates can be found in many foods including bread, pasta, rice, fruits, and vegetables. It's important for athletes to eat enough carbohydrates to meet their energy needs. A Registered Dietitian can help you determine the right amount of carbohydrates you need based on your activity level, weight, and length of time between eating and exercise.


When you exercise, your body uses up the carbohydrates stored in your liver and muscles (as glycogen). This is why it's important to eat carbohydrates before and after exercise. Eating a meal that includes carbohydrates before exercise can give you the energy you need to perform at your best. Eating carbohydrates after exercise can help your body recover glycogen and get ready for the next workout. This is often why you see marathon runners "carb-loading", to maximize muscle and liver glycogen before a long run.


In conclusion, carbohydrates are essential for high intensity athletes. They provide the energy needed to perform at your best and aid in recovery after exercise. It's important to work with a Registered Dietitian to determine the right amount of carbohydrates for you and when to include them in your diet before and after exercise.


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