Carbohydrate Recommendations For Athletes

EndurElite Chief Endurance Officer Matt Mosman discusses the amount and timing of carbohydrates you should be eating on a daily basis to produce optimal endurance performance and recovery.

Video Transcription:

Good morning my beautiful bikers, radiant runners, and other endurance friends. Matt Mosman, co-founder of EndurElite, the maker of premium supplements for endurance athletes, and endurance training, and supplement expert. Hey, today we're gonna talk about one of my favorite things in the whole world and that is carbohydrate requirements for endurance athletes and basically how much you should be eating and how to time them for optimal endurance performance. So, real quick today we're gonna talk about how many carbohydrates you should be eating on a daily basis, how much and how to time them before exercise, how much you should be taking in during exercise. And then finally, how much you should be taking in after endurance exercise to replace muscle glycogen stores and promote optimal recovery.

So, without further ado let's just dive right into it. This will be a quick and dirty version. If you want more details or want the kind of geeky scientific explanation behind all this just leave a comment and I will respond.

How Many Total Carbs Should Endurance Athletes Eat Daily?

So, carbohydrate requirements on a daily basis for endurance athletes should be 8 to 10 grams per kilogram body weight. And, this is gonna help basically restore muscle glycogen levels after doing workouts on a daily basis.

Now, the 8 to 10-gram range is really gonna depend on, you know, for example, how many miles you're running or biking, or how hard you're running or biking. Obviously, if you're not training quite as hard the eight grams per kilogram body weight will do fine. Whereas, if you get into more intense training blocks then you might want to go up to the 10 grams per kilogram body weight. So, on a daily basis 8 to 10 grams per kilogram body weight.

How Many Carbs You Should Eat Before Exercise

Now, carbohydrate amounts and timing leading up to exercise should look something like this. About three or four hours before exercise you want to eat 300 to 400 grams of carbohydrates. And, basically what this is gonna do is top off your muscle glycogen stores. We all know glycogen is the primary fuel source for endurance exercise and when it's broken down into glucose to fuel muscular contractions and help you keep going longer and stronger during your ride or a run.

So, after that, 60 minutes before exercise you can slam another 50 to 75 grams of carbohydrates if needed and if you can stomach it. Then you go down to immediately before exercise and you can do another 50 grams there if you feel like you need it and again, if you can feel like you can stomach it. So, that's leading up to your training session.

How Many Carbs You Should Eat During Exercise

Now, when you begin exercising carbohydrates are gonna vary a little bit based on the duration of the exercise. If you're going 0 to 30 minutes, you really don't need any carbs. You have plenty of muscle glycogen to get you through your training session or workout.

Now 30 minutes up to 2 hours you want to go with about 30 grams of carbohydrate per hour and this can be in the form of a sports drink, chews, you know. It's really your preference what you feel is palatable and your stomach can handle. As you go to the two to three-hour mark you might want to up your carbohydrate to 60 grams an hour. And again, your source of fuel is really up to you. Some people like the ease and convenience of just having a sports drink while some like to mix sports drinks again with like gels or chews.

So, two to three hours you look in about 60 grams of carbs. Now as you go three hours and beyond up to 90 grams of carbs an hour is recommended. Now that's a lot of carbs. It may cause stomach discomfort in some but there is a lot of cool new research, and we'll talk about this in a different video about how to train the gut to be able to basically stomach that amount of carbs and get a performance benefit out of it.So, that's carbs during endurance exercise.

How Many Carbs You Should Eat After Exercise

Now, after endurance exercise, immediately after you want to consume one to 1.5 grams per kilogram bodyweight within 30 minutes of ending your endurance activity. And then, another 1 to 1.5 grams every two hours for four to six hours thereafter.

So, here's the bottom line. No other macronutrient is more important for fueling endurance performance than carbohydrates bar none. I mean carbs are the primary fuel source for endurance exercise. So, that's about it. Go have yourself some carbs and stay fueled, stay focused, stay fast.