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Health & Nutrition Corner

To Load or NOT to Load?

To Load or NOT to Load?

Carbohydrate Loading and Sprinting

Carbohydrate loading is a dietary strategy that involves consuming large quantities of carbohydrates several days before an athletic event, in the hopes of storing a large amount of energy for your performance. During this period, athletes typically reduce the amount of activity they perform, such as training runs and workouts, in order to avoid tapping into the stored energy reserves. It is  recommends that you structure your diet so that carbohydrates comprise 50 to 55 percent of calories about a week before your event. Three to four days before the event, increase the concentration of carbohydrates to 70 percent of your diet.


Carbohydrate Loading and Sprinting

According to, carbohydrate loading is "most beneficial if you're an endurance athlete — such as a marathon runner, swimmer or cyclist that is preparing for an event that will last 90 minutes or more." Meanwhile, the Australian Sports Commission notes that carbohydrate loading isn't required for sprint events because they don't deplete glycogen levels like endurance events. Carbohydrate loading can also cause digestive discomfort and weight gain, which may hinder your sprint performance significantly.


Better Approaches for Sprinters

Although you should prioritize carbohydrates in your diet as a sprinter, carbohydrate loading is not optimal. Instead of focusing on loading carbohydrates for days ahead of time, make sure that you eat a diet that has plenty of carbohydrates in it. Also focus on having carbohydrate-rich snacks one to two hours before competition, in addition to a larger meal four hours before competition. This will give you enough energy to compete but not so many carbohydrates that you will overload your body and hinder your performance.



  • Great article Coach Jerome!!
    6/18/2015 10:54:21 AM Reply

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