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What Is Carb Loading?

Updated on December 6, 2017

Carbohydrate loading is the act of increasing the amount of carbs you eat just a few days prior to a high-intensity workout or sporting event. On the days you are "carb loading" you will decrease your activity level.

There is a form of glucose stored in your liver called glycogen. When all of the glucose is used up, your body relies on glycogen to keep your motor running. If you are an athlete or an avid fitness fanatic, you require more glycogen than most. When you carb load, you are taking in more carbohydrates than usual (but not an excessive amount). This will build up your glycogen stores. Remaining sedative on these days will help save these glycogen stores.

If your activity takes 60 minutes or less, carbohydrate loading can actually make you gain weight. It is primarily designed for those that train longer than 90 minutes. Many bodybuilders and fitness models love carb loading plans because it gives them the extra strength to push through, training longer and harder.

Day One

On this day, eat only whole grain bread or pasta. The first day is important as you want to load up on complex carbs so they have time to process before your heavy training day.

Day Two

Slowly taper off the carbs and switch to simple carbs. Do not eat a lot of fruit due to the sugar content. Stay away from carbs that have a lot of saturated fat such as: pastries, cookies, cakes and doughnuts.

Day Three

Stick with eating simple carbs. Make sure your last meal is 15 hours before your heavy training day. Make sure the simple carbs are easily digestible.

Here is an example of the carbohydrates you should consume for breakfast, lunch and dinner:


2 cups of cereal or oatmeal

16 ounces of fruit juice or 2 muffins

2 bananas or 8 ounces of low-fat milk


3 cups of pasta and 1 cup marinara sauce or 3 cups of rice

2 slices of french bread

1 serving of lean protein and 8 ounces low-fat milk


1. serving of lean protein (fish, turkey, chicken)

1 serving of rice, whole grain or mashed potatoes

16 ounces of fruit juice

If you train hard and follow the carb loading plan to a 'T' you will lose weight and feel amazing.


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