Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Carbo Loading: The Myth, The Facts and The Ahlborg Method

Carbo Loading

I hear many runners say, "oh man it's race day, I gotta eat a ton of bread or pasta." That is fine and dandy but what did you eat the previous 4-5 days. I have done exercises where I would carbo load and not carbo load before a race. What I found was that my performance was nearly the same within 04 seconds. However when I didn't carbo load my muscles and body was tired. I think the art of eating everything in site the day before the race is not effective. A proper week in and week out carbo loading plan is needed. I am going to explore the Ahlborg method. The Ahlborg method is a race method that seems to be effective. Recently I trained similar to this method. It's also something that you hear about many Kenyan Marathoners doing. It does have it's set backs but if you are racing every weekend then that is your strenuous workout on the plan.

The Ahlborg Method: Pro's and Cons

"Ahlborg came up with a seven-day carbo-loading plan in which an exhaustive bout of exercise was followed by three or four days of extremely low carbohydrate intake (10 percent of total calories) and then three or four days of extremely high carbohydrate intake (90 percent of total calories).

The Ahlborg
Carbo-Loading Method
  1. Perform an exhaustive workout one week before a long race (90 minutes-plus).
  2. Consume a very low-carb diet (10%) for the next 3-4 days while training lightly.
  3. Consume a very high-carb diet (90%) the next 3-4 days while continuing to train lightly.

Trained athletes who used this protocol in an experiment were able to nearly double their glycogen stores and exhibited significantly greater endurance in exercise lasting longer than 90 minutes.

After these results were published, endurance athletes across the globe began to use Ahlborg's carbo-loading plan prior to events anticipated to last 90 minutes or longer. While it worked admirably, it had its share of drawbacks.

First of all, many athletes weren't keen on performing an exhaustive workout just a week before a big race, as the plan required. Second, maintaining a 10 percent carbohydrate diet for three or four days carried some nasty consequences including lethargy, cravings, irritability, lack of concentration and increased susceptibility to illness. Many runners and other athletes found it just wasn't worth it."

Article found at http://www.active.com/nutrition/Articles/The_evolving_art_of_carbo-loading.htm

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