Even athletes get nervous when the scale goes up a pound the morning after a carbohydrate-rich meal. But what most don’t realize, is that those carbs are being stored as glycogen (sugar) in muscle, along with water, at a ratio of 1:3 grams. So yes, there will be a little weight gain, but it’s mostly water weight, NOT body fat.
Typically, our bodies store about 300-400 grams of glycogen in muscle tissue – about 1-2 percent of our total body energy stores – which is used for regular daily activity. If you’re a competitive athlete who works out hard every day, YOU NEED MORE, and it’s important to know the proper amounts of carbs to take in each day so that your muscles have a chance to refuel their depleted glycogen stores. Now I’m not saying to go out and eat more candy and drink more soda. Just eat wholesome foods and fruits which have natural sugars, and supplement with nutrient-dense shakes.
The guidelines for carbohydrate consumption during competition has traditionally called for 30 – 60 grams per hour of activity, however recent studies show that performance benefits happen can with relatively small amounts of carbohydrate – not less than 16 grams per hour. For a tennis player, that’s like eating half a banana between sets! By doing this, you not only replace the glycogen you use, but you actually improve your performance on the court!
It’s true! Studies have shown that body fat cannot meet the energy demand, so low glycogen levels will cause muscles to increase the break down muscle protein to make glucose, which basically means that the muscle is eating itself to feed itself. And if this happens, you could lose muscle and decrease performance!
Don’t let this happen to you! Embrace your carbs! Eat healthy and refuel during and after your activities, and make sure and check out the recipes section for some delicious ideas to help keep you fit and feeling good. And if I can help you in any way, please leave me a message in the comments section, or contact me privately. I’d love to help!