Carbohydrate Loading

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Carbohydrate Loading
There are many threats to an athlete during physical endurance competition whether it is a marathon or the decathlon. The most common forms of these threats include hypoglycaemia, fatigue, and loss of morale (which is usually caused by hypoglycaemia and fatigue). There is one connection that can be made between these threats and that is that all are caused one way or another through the lack of carbohydrates (Peterson).

The most common way to combat these threats is carbohydrate loading. Carbohydrate loading is the systematic eating and deprivation of carbohydrates from your body. The reason why carbohydrates aid and hinder your athletic achievements is that carbohydrates act as the fuel for the body also known as glycogen (Peterson). Glycogen is a starch that is easily broken down and is primarily used in the liver and muscles; however both areas use glycogen differently. Liver glycogen is used to keep ones blood-sugar levels high whereas muscles use glycogen to fuel themselves (Peterson). Now there are two types of carbohydrate loading the traditional method and the overload method. The average diet is approximately 45% carbohydrates; the traditional method is to increase carbohydrate intake to about 90%, three days before an event (Peterson). This will add to your carbohydrate stores and allow for higher muscle efficiency. The overload method is slightly different; before the three days you will deplete your carbohydrate stores through exercise. The reason behind this is to increase glycogen saturation. When your body is deprived of nutrients it will begin to store said nutrients even to an excess; this will allow higher glycogen saturation during the three days of carbohydrate intake (Peterson).

If done properly the athlete should actually feel two kilograms heavier at the event. This is because there should be approximately 800 g of carbohydrates in your system (about 150 g in your liver and 650 in your...
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