Updated 22 May 2013

The lowdown on carbo-loading

What can I eat to improve my performance? This is the question foremost in every Argus Cycle Tour participant's mind – and the answer: enough carbohydrates.

Few people realise that carbohydrate is the best-proven performance-enhancing substance – and it’s legal!

Therefore, by replacing your carbohydrate stores on a daily basis, especially during/after training and racing, you can maintain and/or spare your bodily carbohydrate stores, thereby delaying fatigue and improving your performance.

  • e.g. bread/ pasta/ rice/ couscous/ potato/ vegetables/ fruit/ low-fat milk/ yoghurt or drinking yoghurt; add some concentrated carbohydrates to help boost your carbohydrate intake for optimal carbo-loading, e.g. jam/ syrup/ honey/ energy drinks/ cooldrinks (avoid caffeine & alcohol as they increase urine production = dehydrate you)/ jelly tots/ jelly babies/ marshmallows/ fruit juice.
    People who do not like the sweetness of these concentrated carbohydrates, or simply struggle to eat enough carbohydrates, can include “plain or neutral” glucose polymer powder (Refuel, Fastfuel) to their meals and/or drinks which will also help to boost their carbohydrate intake.
  • Drink plenty of fluids leading up to the race. The colour of your urine should always be light/pale yellow.

  • 500ml Refuel / FastFuel / Soft drink
  • 800ml Isostar / Game
  • 750ml Energade
  • 650ml Powerade
  • 1 jam or banana sandwich/roll
  • 3 medium potatoes
  • 9 jelly babies
  • 3 pieces of fruit
  • 3 ½ tablespoons of raisins

  • 300ml low-fat sweetened yoghurt or drinking yoghurt
  • chicken in pita bread
  • 15g biltong + 500-1000ml sports drink
  • cereal + low-fat milk
  • 200ml low-fat yoghurt + low-fat Granola or Nutrigrain or Safari fruit bar
  • 250-300ml liquid meal supplement, eg. Sustagen Sport, Build-Up
  • 250-350ml low-fat milkshake.


Read Health24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Live healthier

Lifestyle »

E-cigarettes: Here are five things to know

E-cigarettes have become hugely popular in the past decade, but a rash of vaping-linked deaths and illnesses in the US is feeding caution about a product that's already banned in some places.

Allergy »

Ditch the itch: Researchers find new drug to fight hives

A new drug works by targeting an immune system antibody called immunoglobulin E, which is responsible for the allergic reaction that causes hives.