Timing and method of increased carbohydrate intake to cope with heavy training, competition and recovery

J Sports Sci. 1991 Summer;9 Spec No:29-51; discussion 51-2. doi: 10.1080/02640419108729865.


Based upon the fact that fatigue during intense prolonged exercise is commonly due to depletion of muscle and liver glycogen which limits both training and competitive performance, this paper has proposed extraordinary dietary practices which generally advocate high carbohydrate intake at all times before, during and after exercise. The simple goal is to have as much carbohydrate in the body as possible during the latter stages of prolonged intense exercise when the ability for intense exercise usually becomes limiting to performance. This theory is put into practice by recommending that carbohydrate intake after exhaustive exercise should average 50 g per 2 h of mostly moderate and high glycaemic carbohydrate foods. The aim should be to ingest a total of about 600 g in 24 h. Carbohydrate intake should not be avoided during the 4 h period before exercise and in fact it is best to eat at least 200 g during this time. When possible, carbohydrate should be ingested during exercise, generally in the form of solutions containing glucose/sucrose/maltodextrins, at a rate of 30-60 g h-1. Emphasis has been placed upon eating the optimal amount and best type of carbohydrate at the proper times because these practices demand a large amount of food. When diet is not carefully planned according to these guidelines, endurance athletes tend to consume too little carbohydrate because they become satiated with high fat in their diet and they go through periods in the day when recovery of glycogen stores is suboptimal and thus precious time is wasted.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Competitive Behavior
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / administration & dosage*
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / metabolism
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Physical Education and Training*
  • Physical Endurance
  • Task Performance and Analysis
  • Time Factors


  • Dietary Carbohydrates