Dr Will's 5 W's for Carbohydrate Intake

Updated: Oct 7, 2021

Who, what, when, where, and why Who

Endurance athletes, men and women, exercising for one hour or more. Athletes that are trying to get the best out of themselves in a given training session or race. Triathlon, kayaking, swimming, mountain biking, cycling, running, walking and any other endurance activity.

What

Carbohydrates are referred to as simple or complex. Each of these forms of carbohydrates are digested differently in your body. Which of these carbohydrates you ingest during your endurance event can have a significant impact on the way you digest carbohydrate. Most carbohydrate supplements will contain simple sugars. these sugars will come in the form of glucose, fructose or sucrose. A complex carbohydrate is sometimes referred to as starch. Complex carbohydrates require more effort to digest.

When

To simplify things, I’ve made this traffic light table.

Where

As in, where are you going to get your carbohydrate from? Nowadays, you have a lot of choice for how you can get carbohydrate. Gels, Lollies, Sports Drink, Bars, Fruit Normal food. Bread, pizza, chips, biscuits, etc..



As I said in the “what” section, simple is better. Personally, I recommend that athletes have water separate from their carbohydrate rather than all-in-ones like a Gatorade or Powerade. Sometimes, you won’t have a choice due to aid stations or storage space, in that case, you need to make sure you’re getting enough fluid AND carbohydrate rather than just concentrating on the carbohydrate number. The longer the duration the lower the intensity. At lower intensities you’ll be able to digest more complex carbohydrate because your muscles don’t require as, much blood. This means there’s more blood flow to help with digestion. Whatever, you decide to do, try it first!

Why