For generations, athletes have practiced carbohydrate loading – eating a high-carbohydrate diet while simultaneously decreasing activity level in the days before a game or event. But does it work? Or is it an outdated practice?
Carbohydrate loading (also known as glycogen loading) allows the body to store more energy in its muscles than it usually can, increasing stamina and improving endurance.
While carb loading isn’t as common in soccer, the fact remains – the more carbohydrates an athlete eats, the more endurance they will have.
How do you get the most from the practice of carbohydrate loading? Follow these simple steps one to three days before a game or event:
Three to four days before a game or event, start scaling back training and physical activity.
One to three days before a game or event, begin increasing carbohydrate intake about eight to 12 grams per kilogram of body weight and gradually cut back on fat.
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.
Be sure to consult with a physician or registered dietician for specific recommendations on diet and nutrition.
For best results, consistency is key - players should eat a healthy diet over an extended period of time and not just in the days leading up to a game to guarantee peak performance both on and off the field.