Our recent post regarding our group pre-race dinner this Friday titled "Group Carb Loading Friday Night” is misleading and prompted the question, Is carb loading really what we are supposed to do?
We used to think that scarfing down a plate of spaghetti and rolls the night before a race was a healthy way to prepare. Ideally, the week before a race you should be getting plenty of fluids, sodium and yes, eating healthy carbohydrates.
The kind of carbohydrates you should be eating may not be the ones you are most fond of or traditionally think of when you think carb loading! No pancakes, french fries and refined white pasta on the “healthy carb” list (see below).
- fruit (e.g. bananas and blueberries)
- brown rice
- whole wheat pasta
- sweet potatoes
Assuming you are eating a healthy, balanced diet with “good for you” carbohydrates during training Sally Berry, a local certified sport nutritionist says, “In general, when a person is tapering their workouts and eating the same...they are naturally carb loading."
“No huge pasta feasts the night before [a race],” Sally warns, “…athletes think they are going to a restaurant and 'carb loading' when they are actually 'fat loading’". That doesn’t mean you need to eat in your hotel room by yourself on the group race trip or avoid going to dinner with your teammates the night before, but you might opt for lean fish or chicken and a healthy carbohydrate from the menu.
We are all individuals and what works for one athlete may not work for another. That is true when it comes to training schedules as well as nutrition. When Sally told me no alcohol before a race I exclaimed, “What about my PR pinot?” Sally calmed my fears, "I have no problem with it, if it works for you. It’s all about individualization/experimentation. And… then there’s the psychological boost."
You can learn more about Sally Berry at www.ebodyfuel.com