Top Five Carbs for Training

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Top Five Carbs for Training

Top Five Carbs for Training

In training - as in competition - your muscles need the right fuel if you are to perform at your best for an extended period, without suffering from muscle fatigue.

Carbohydrates are the crucial source of energy to keep your muscles pumping for longer, but which are the best?

Here are five carbs commonly recommended for use during training, and why they are among the best.

1. Pasta

Pasta scores highly on the glycaemic index, but is slow to digest, meaning your body gets energy over a sustained period without a 'sugar rush' of blood glucose.

If you're not opposed to eating well-cooked pasta, then simply boiling it for longer can make the starch more easily digestible, so the energy is released into your body faster.

Bread has an even higher GI value, and is faster to digest, making it an alternative if you want quick energy from your food.

2. Jelly Babies

Jelly Babies and other jelly-based snacks offer high levels of sugar in a short space of time, making them a popular treat to take with you when training.

Other ways to refuel your body en route include Jaffa Cakes and jam sandwiches - both of which combine high-sugar jelly with high-GI bread or cake.

Remember to drink plenty of water too, as dry snacks will not keep your body hydrated over the course of an extended training session.

3. Energy Bars

A convenient snack for after your training session, energy bars often come with a ratio of 4:1 energy to protein, and this has been shown to repair muscles and restore energy levels more effectively.

Remember, this formulation is designed specifically for after your workout is completed, and you should make sure to give your body the correct building blocks to self-repair any muscle stress and strain.

Focus on carbs that release their energy more slowly, and take on board enough energy for several hours at a slow release rate, and you should feel much better.

4. Cereal

For a home-made equivalent, high-GI cereal provides energy while milk adds the protein, making a bowl of cornflakes a good post-training meal.

Porridge and muesli, on the other hand, are in the low to medium GI range, making them a better option several hours before your training session begins.

If you're tempted to add sliced banana to any of these, resist - bananas are in the medium GI range, which means you're best off eating a banana on its own 30 minutes before training starts.

5. Energy Drinks

One of the reasons energy drinks work so well is not simply that they hydrate you, but that the carbohydrates dissolved in the liquid are delivered much more quickly into your bloodstream as a consequence.

This means that, for example, a shot of liquid glucose will deliver energy to your muscles much faster than a solid lump of sugar.

They are also convenient - you can grab a bottle and take a drink via a sports cap without spillage, much more easily than you can take a solid snack on board.