How To ‘Carb Load’ Correctly

‘Carb loading’ is short for carbohydrate loading and the term is used to describe consuming a higher than usual amount of carbohydrates, in preparation for some form of physical activity or competition.

I wish my fajitas looked this appetising

Unfortunately this does not mean you should stock up on chocolate bars and expect to produce exceptional energy levels on the day of your activity.

You do not need to be a professional athlete to implement this into your lifestyle either, but will obviously work best if you are working towards a game/competition/run.

Benefits Of Carb Loading:

  • Improved muscular endurance
  • More power
  • More strength
  • Increased stamina
  • Reducing the effects of cognitive fatigue on performance

There are a number of different methods used to ‘carb load’ effectively and I’m going to run through the most popular example with you.

Modified carbohydrate loading method:

  • Day 1 – Endurance training/Normal diet
  • Day 2 – Taper Training/Normal diet
  • Day 3 – Taper training/Normal diet
  • Day 4 – Taper training/Normal diet
  • Day 5 – Taper training/High carbohydrate training
  • Day 6 – Taper training/High carbohydrate training
  • Day 7 – Taper training/High carbohydrate training
  • Day 8 – Competition
Not that deep. Just eat more carbs days 5/6/7

Taper training is just an another way of saying ‘reduced training protocol’ in preparation for day of competition.

Traditionally carb loading would include lowering carbohydrates on days 1-4, but studies suggest keeping it the same during this period and then increasing carbs on days 5-7. This allows glycogen levels to be at an optimal level ready for day of competition.

How Many Carbs In A Carb Loading Diet?

The simple answer is – 10-12g of carbohydrate per kg of bodyweight.

So if you are a person weighing 70kg:

10 x 70 = 700g


12 x 70 = 840g

So if you aim to consume between 700g & 840g of carbs on days 5, 6 & 7 then you will achieve the desired outcome of a successful carb loading regimen.

Does It Matter When You Eat?

There are many methods of carb loading which you can divulge into, but is one which is backed by evidence and research and also the most simple.

Hopefully you now have a better understanding of carb loading and don’t just consume a bowl of pasta the day of your competition expecting an unreasonable increase in performance.

I have been there.

For more information, posts, training programmes and training tips visit my website

Published by Thomas Jackson Smith

Personal Trainer. Qualified Strength and Conditioning Coach, Exercise Referral specialist, Football coach and entrepreneur. Interested in health and fitness, exercise prescription, football, nutrition, injury prevention, recovery and mindset improvement. Any views are my own and from my own experience. Looking to build links within the blog community, replying to feedback and offering support so we can learn and grow together!

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