Why are carbohydrates needed in sports?

Why are carbohydrates needed in sports?

, by Elliot Froidevaux, 1 min reading time

Information by UMARA

Published by UMARA for Boa Vista Running Co. Limited


 Regardless of the sport, the body requires "fuel" to support us during training and competition. 

Both fat and carbohydrates are utilized by the body for this purpose. In the muscle cells, both fat and carbohydrates are converted into energy (ATP). The amount of fat and carbohydrates consumed varies depending on the intensity of exercise, but there is always an interplay between the two. 

For instance, during rest, the body primarily relies on fat for approximately 60% of its energy needs. However, as activity levels increase, the body increasingly relies on carbohydrates.

Carbohydrates in the form of glycogen require approximately 7% less oxygen to produce energy (ATP) compared to fatty acids, which are also stored in abundance. The depletion of glycogen stores has a direct correlation with muscular fatigue, as the body generates less energy when these stores are empty. Therefore, carbohydrates serve as the optimal fuel source for peak performance. However, the body's capacity to store carbohydrates is limited to about 500g.

Due to this storage limitation, achieving optimal physical performance necessitates the consumption of carbohydrates both before and during physical activity.

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