9 Carb Facts That Will Help You Win Your Next Endurance Race

Carbohydrates are the main fuel for endurance athletes. During a Tour the riders are eating loads of pasta, rice, and energy bars and gels, all containing a lot of carbs. So here’s all you need to know about carbohydrates during exercise!

1. Your body uses two main sources of fuel during exercise: carbohydrates (in the form of glucose) and fats. Glucose is the ‘fast fuel’ as the body can turn it into energy much faster than fat.

2. The higher the intensity of exercise, the more important the carbs! During high intensity exercise your body needs a lot of energy in a short period of time, and thus the body uses mainly glucose (the fast fuel) as a source of energy.
3. You only have limited amounts of glucose stored in the body, enough for just 45-90 mins of moderate to high intensity exercise.
4. Depleted carb stores can be experienced as ‘hitting the wall’ or ‘bonking’. Therefore, it is important to eat enough carbs during your long exercise session. Think of a banana, or more sport-specific nutrition such as energy bars or gels.
5. How much? That depends on the duration of exercise. During short rides or runs you don’t need to take any extra carbs, the stores in your body should be sufficient. During exercise longer than an hour you at least want to take some carbs (30g/h), and more is needed with increasing exercise duration (up to 90g/h when exercise last longer than 2.5 hours).
6. Your body can only take up 60g of glucose per hour. When you take more, this is simply not taken up by the body and will accumulate in the intestine (when this happens you better make sure you are close to a toilet…)
7. The maximum carb intake can be increased (up to ~90g/h) by adding a different type of carbohydrate, that is taken up in the intestine via a different way.
8. Scientific studies showed that glucose (or maltodextrin, which is a long chain of glucose molecules) + fructose in a ratio of 2:1 is one of the best combinations. The energy bars and gels of Vifit Sport contain this combination of maltodextrin + fructose.
9. Finally, it’s good to know that the energy products of Vifit Sport are developed together with Team Jumbo Visma. Pro’s like Dylan Groenewegen, Primoz Roglic, and Robert Gesink use these products in their hunt for stage wins during Tours!