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Carb Loading: 6 Foods For Optimal Performance


Bodybuilding takes dedication and many hours of intense workouts to reduce fat and increase muscle mass. However, you need to follow proper nutrition practices for the best performance. While a high-protein diet is beneficial for building muscle, you should also load up on carbohydrates if you are competing in high-intensity sports. Choosing the right type of foods is key to carb loading's effectiveness.

The body's most readily available and preferred energy source is glycogen. Muscles and the liver store glycogen, and your body draws from these stores whenever you exercise. You then use this glycogen to fuel your muscles during intense exercise.

The level of glycogen you have is usually sufficient for regular activities or short workouts. During prolonged or intense exercise, additional glycogen, as well as carbohydrate consumption, may be necessary. When the workout intensity is high, you need to refuel beyond 6o minutes of exercise.

It is beneficial to consume large amounts of carbohydrates to boost energy levels and reduce fatigue. The amount of glycogen in the body and its depletion are limiting factors for performance, which means that running out of this fuel source can weaken your performance.

Here are six foods that are best for carb loading.

1. White rice

Despite its low fibre content, white rice is an effective carb-loading food. Aside from its fat-free nature, white rice is also essential for carb-loading, since fat slows the digestion of carbohydrates. In a 1/2 cup serving of uncooked rice, there are 160 calories, 26 grams of carbs, and no fibre.

2. Sweet potatoes

Sweet potato is versatile, and there are various ways to prepare it. They can be roasted, baked, mashed or pureed. They can even be consumed as an alternative source of energy mid-run since sweet potatoes contain vitamins A and C, beta-carotene, manganese, and other nutrients runners need.

3. Tart cherries and tart cherry juice

Runners have been including tart cherry juice as an ingredient in their post-run protein smoothies for many years. And the reason is that it tastes great and is a healthy source of carbohydrates. Also, it has been proven effective in reducing pain and inflammation. Choose a cherry brand with real cherries, rather than just cherry flavouring to get both the rich taste and health benefits.

4. Blueberry muffin

Despite being calorie-dense, blueberry muffins are not bulky and are ideal for carb loading. In addition, blueberry muffins contain plenty of carbohydrates from the flour and fruit ingredients. Approximately 5 grams of fat and 66 grams of carbohydrates are contained in a 4.25 oz. blueberry muffin. Eat baked goods in moderation, as they may have a high-fat content.

5. Spaghetti

Due to its low fat and high carb content, spaghetti is an ideal food for bodybuilding diets. The nutritional content of one cup of cooked spaghetti is 220 calories, 1.5 g fat, 43 g carbohydrates and only 2.5 g fibre.

6. Whole grains

Whole grains are an excellent choice when carb loading and should constitute at least half of your daily intake of grains. A few examples of whole grain foods include whole wheat, cereals, quinoa, brown rice, steel-cut oats, and whole grain corn. Whole grains contain antioxidants, nutrients, and fibre. They also provide a wide range of health benefits essential for a well-functioning system. However, you should avoid high fibre foods before competing so that you do not experience intestinal upset. Instead, eat whole grains that are easy to digest.

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