Effective Carb Loading


Effective Carb Loading

Endurance athletes who are serious about their performance and are competing in events such as swimming, should focus on the foods they consume in order to maximize their performance. Carb loading is a strategy used by many endurance athletes, such as swimmers, to increase the storage of glycogen (or energy) in the muscles and liver.

How it’s not done - scarfing a bunch of spaghetti the night before a meet.

How it’s done:

7 day plan

5-7 days before a race:

-  Eliminate all junk food (should have done this already).

-  Reduce amount of carbs to a 3rd of what you should be consuming. Recommended 50-60%, 

-  Reduce to about 20% calories consumed

-  Drink plenty of fluids (water).

2-4 days before competition

-  Continue to eat healthy foods

-  Increase carbohydrate consumption to 70% of diet. This will spike the amount of glycogen in the muscles.

-  Continue to drink plenty of fluids

Day before competition

-  Normal diet (still no junk food)

-  Keep water consumption high

Day of Meet 

The pre-event meal should be eaten 1-4 hours before exercise, contain 1-4 g/kg body weight of carbohydrate, and be low in protein, fiber, and fat to minimize the risk of gastrointestinal upset.

Breakfast: Bagel w/peanut butter, acai smoothie ( acai packet, honey, mango, banana, coconut water), 2 glasses of water

Pre Warm-up: Water + grape juice

During Meet: 1 health bar (bearded bros, power bar, barf bar, etc.), 1 chocolate milk 

Post Meet: Chicken with pasta, Vegetables, yogurt, lots of water

Post Race

-  Restore carbohydrate after training sessions and racing to replace used glycogen (carbohydrate stored in the muscle and liver) and to store more glycogen as an adaptation to training.

-  Consume 20g of  protein as soon as possible (preferably solid) following training or racing to help repair muscle tissue. 

-  Rehydrate as soon as possible with 1/2 bottle gatorage cut with water. This will help restore sodium balance


Key Points

1. Avoid foods that are heavy on the stomach on the day of the meet. Fats take longer to digest and fiber can be hard on the stomach.

2. Rest is imperative. Be sure to get 8-9 hrs of sleep before you compete

3. There is no "magic" fix when it comes to your diet. Avoid any and all supplements. Consistency is key.