When does our body use carbs? How are they stored in our body? What is the recommended amount for the general athlete?

Carbs are the major source of fuel for the body during moderate to high intensity exercise that lasts up to two hours in duration. At around this time, carbohydrate stores are depleted and the body switches to relying on fatty acids for energy. So, we use carbs to immediately provide energy to fuel our exercise.

The carbs that are not used as fuel during exercise have two routes:

  1. Stored as glycogen in skeletal muscles or liver
    • Ideal situation because they can be readily accessed in the future
  2. Converted to fat
    • Not ideal as fat is more difficult to use as fuel for energy

Our body’s ability to store carbs as glycogen and not convert them to fat depends on our physical training status, basal metabolic rate (rate our body burns energy at rest), body size, and eating habits. In general, if you’re in better shape and you have a higher training level, then you have a better ability to store carbs for easy access!

The National Strength and Conditioning Association suggests that athletes should consume about 6-10 g of carbs per kg of body weight per day in order to have adequate energy stores and prevent the excess from from being converted to fat. Stay tuned for our next post that will breakdown which carbs you should be consuming and when!

Featured Image By: Medical News Today

Leave a Reply