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Amanda Leendertse is a Registered Dietitian, runner, triathlete and owner of Fueled Fork Inc. in Sherwood Park, AB. To learn more about Amanda and the services she provides visit:  

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May 2017: What are carbohydrates, and do I need to take them during training or racing?

Carbohydrates are our body’s main fuel source, particularly during exercise. Carbohydrates are broken down by the body and used right away for energy, as well as stashed away as glycogen in the liver and muscle for later use when blood sugars start to decline.

Whether you should take in carbohydrates depends on the length and intensity of the training session or race you are completing. When exercise is undertaken for periods of time greater than 90 minutes (or 60 minutes of high intensity), glycogen stores become depleted. Failing to take any carbohydrates prior to this occurring will cause the athlete to be unable to continue, or “hit the wall.” In these situations it is important to consume 30-60 grams of carbohydrate per hour of activity. In training or race sessions under 90 minutes (or 60 minutes of high intensity), it is not necessary to take a carbohydrate source. Just ensure that you drink enough fluids to match sweat losses.

If you do require carbohydrates, don’t take your first gel or sports drink on race day. It is important to train your gut to use and tolerate them, just like you train your body to cover your goal event distance. Practice the type, timing and amount you plan to take on race day during key training sessions to ensure that the fuel source you’ve chosen works for you.








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