The difference between an elite endurance athlete and an average one usually boils down to attention to detail.
The elite pay attention to the little things that give them that slight leg up over their competition.
Today's article covers a secret nutrition hack that the elite use to have more power in their legs after everyone else is gassed, the 2:1 Carb Ratio.
As an endurance athlete, you already know how important it is to get easily digested carbs into your body to give yourself a rapid energy source during long hard workouts but, not all carbs are created equal.
So which is best? Glucose? Sucrose? Fructose?
First, you need to know that your body can only utilize about 60 grams of carbs per hour or 1 carb per minute IF those carbs come from only one source. eg. glucose, fructose, etc.
The dilemma is that you want as much energy as you can get during a race so if possible, it makes sense to find a way to increase the number of carbs your body can utilize for energy. Luckily, researchers have found a way to accomplish that.
The amount of carbs your body can use for energy boils down to how well your intestine can absorb the carbs. Carbs use something called a transporter to move into the intestine.
Think of transporters as the vehicle that the carb rides in to get to the intestine.
Let's say glucose rides the bus (the transporter) to reach the intestine, but after the intestine has reached capacity, 60 grams of glucose within a given hour, it won't allow any other buses to enter. However, the intestine will allow carbs riding in different transporters to enter and be utilized for energy. For example, let's imagine that the carb source fructose rides in a taxi (the transporter) to get to the intestine. Although the intestine is already full of glucose and won't allow any more buses in, it will allow taxis in carrying fructose. What that translates into is a greater capacity for your muscles to utilize carbs.
Studies show that with a 2:1 ratio of glucose and fructose, the body is able to utilize about 90 carbs per hour. That's a 50% increase, but what does that actually mean for you?
Two words. Improved Performance.
The athlete with the most energy left in their legs is going to finish stronger and leave their competition in the dust. So when you're planning your training/race nutrition regimen, looks for carb sources with a 2:1 ratio of glucose to fructose.
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Remember, Fuel Smarter, Go Farther!