Carbohydrates are the fuel for the human body just like the car needs fuel the carbohydrates are the sugars and starches that fuel our body. 1 Gram of carbohydrate is equal to 4 calories of fuel.

So why do we Carbo Load? The body has enough carbohydrates known as glycogen in the muscles for about 90 minutes of work and after that the body needs to have enough fuel otherwise energy will drop off and fatigue will kick in and the body will slow down, Athletes call this “hitting the wall”.

So how much do I carbo load? This depends on what you are training for, but if your carbo loading is for an effort longer than 90 minutes, such as a 20-kilometre surf ski paddle that could last over 90 mins, you could look at 1 - 2 days of carbo loading. If you are doing an event that goes longer, you may look at carbo loading 3 - 4 days before the event.

Carbo loading for males is about 8 to 10 grams of carbohydrates per kilo of body weight and for females about 6 to 8 grams of carbohydrates per kilo of body weight.

Some ways to effectively carbo load could be four days out you could change your snack options to more carb-based ones. Three days out start to increase your meal portion sizes to increase the amount of carbs. 1 - 2 days out from the event you start to reduce the fibre and fat intake as this can reduce the load in your gut meaning that you can consume more carbs and you can look at adding some sports drinks, orange juice or chocolate milk. The night before the event look for a comfort meal, this is something high in carbs, but something that you are familiar with in your stomach.

What to consume the morning of an event? This is more of a “top up” like 1 – 4 grams of carbohydrates per kilo of body weight.  

Electrolytes like sports drinks or powders can start to be consumed 1 – 2  days leading into the event which will help with hydration.

Back to blog