When do I need to supply energy?

When do I need to supply energy?

, by Elliot Froidevaux, 2 min reading time

Published by UMARA for Boa Vista Running Co. Limited

This, of course, depends on several factors: how long you need to sustain your activity, the intensity of your activity, what you ate before the activity, and what your training or competition goals are. The energy requirements vary greatly depending on whether you are aiming to win an Ultra or simply doing a recovery workout with your best friend.

When we consume glycogen supplements and engage in physical activity at a high intensity, our glycogen stores typically last for about 2 hours. After this point, the glycogen in our muscles becomes depleted to such low levels that the efficiency of our muscles decreases significantly due to inhibited calcium management in the muscle cells. This is why it is important to start consuming energy (eating or drinking) early on during a race or competition if you know that you will be exercising for a long duration at a medium to high intensity.

During high-intensity workouts, it is recommended to have a regular intake of approximately 90g of carbohydrates per hour. The exact intake may vary depending on your individual stomach tolerance and the amount of energy you have expended during your workout. Some individuals can tolerate and benefit from consuming 60-70g of carbohydrates per hour, while others may be able to handle higher amounts, such as 120-140g per hour. However, these higher doses usually apply more to competition settings and extremely high-intensity activities.

Now, what about an easy long run?

For a low-intensity workout, you can opt for a lower energy intake. For example, consuming only 20-30g of carbohydrates per hour may be sufficient. At low intensity, this amount can sustain you for 2-4 hours and prevent excessive fatigue by the end of the workout. The duration you can sustain without additional energy will also depend on how well you fueled up with dinner the night before and breakfast on the day of the workout.

Some individuals choose to start their workout on an empty stomach and then begin consuming carbohydrates after 90-120 minutes. This practice is intended to improve fat adaptation, based on the training concept known as "train low, compete high." However, it is important to note that if you deplete your carbohydrate stores too much during the workout, you may experience increased fatigue, which can impact your future workouts. Therefore, it is crucial to plan when to implement these types of workouts strategically.

For workouts lasting around 60 minutes, there is usually no need to add extra energy. Instead, it is more important to ensure that you have eaten a proper meal before your workout and that your glycogen stores are adequately replenished.

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