How much carbohydrate should speed skaters get?

Your overall diet should consist of ~60% carbohydrate, 20% protein, 20% fats with meals spread evenly throughout the day and properly around your activity (see below eating instructions). Carbohydrates (fruit, breads, pasta, rice, potatoes, etc) are the body’s primary and preferred energy source. Once eaten, they rapidly break down to blood sugar (glucose). The brain, nervous system and muscles are fueled mostly by glucose. Therefore, a continuous supply of carbohydrate is necessary to prevent body stores from being depleted. Not getting the right amount of carbohydrate leads to low energy levels, fatigue and significantly impaired performance. 

Proper management of the amounts, types and timing of this nutrient is required to fill and refill the body's main “fuel tank”. Key carbohydrate guidelines are listed here:

• Carbohydrates should make up approximately 60 percent (55-70 is the range based on length of activity -higher for longer) of your total diet.

• Starches and grains should be eaten at each major meal throughout the day to provide a lasting energy source. Major meals should be eaten every three to four hours with your pre-training/event meal consumed 2-3hr before.

• Carbohydrates such as fruit, energy bars/shakes are ideal for rapid fueling before activity to “top off” the fuel tank and immediately after exercise to optimize recovery.  The pre- and post-exercise timing is very important!

• Depending on the sport, growing athletes should consume 3 to 4.5 grams of carbohydrates per pound of body weight every day. 

Good/Better Carb Meal Choices Not So Great Carb Meal Choices

Whole Grains (except pre-game meal – use refined grains) French Fries

  -Pastas Fruit Juices

  -Cereals Calorie sodas of any kind

  -Breads Candies including chocolate

  -Rice Donuts

Potatoes – Any kind (avoid French fries whenever possible) 

Fruits – Any kind 

Using the dotFIT program, you can design ideal athletic menus individualized for you including proper CHO and protein requirements, meal timing and complete endurance performance food plans. Simply fill in your personal statistics, set your goal and your program is created.

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