Carbohydrate strategy - learn to dose the right amount at the right time

Every athlete knows that they cannot train at the same average intensity all the time. E.g. Endurance runners know that they need a lot of endurance training in the aerobic zone, they run large volumes at a lower heart rate, but at the same time they include hills, intervals, tempo runs, etc. in their training plan. In this way, they train various energy processes in the body. The body adapts and makes the work of the muscles, the cardiovascular system, the use of oxygen and the burning of individual nutrients more efficient.

The right fueling strategy can take an athlete to a completely different level.

And one of the things every athlete should know is carb cycling. What used to be said - the more sugars, the better - is no longer true. Now we know that the "train low, race high" strategy is much better.

During training, you push your body out of its comfort zone. And you can do the same within the menu - you can force the body to use a specific fuel more intensively (fats, for example). The more often the body uses the given fuel, the more efficiently it does so. And in addition, with the legal timing of carbohydrates, you can increase the reserves of the key fuel - glycogen.

At certain times, the body has increased requirements for the supply of specific nutrients. If you do not supply them, the body cannot properly adapt to the given load and increase its capacities for the next time.

On the other hand, sometimes by unnecessarily "refueling" a certain fuel, you prevent the body from properly performing the activity that you want to improve in training. An example can be the literally senseless overuse of carbohydrates for aerobic training. Why on earth stuff yourself with sugars when the goal of training is to burn fat as much as possible? And this applies not only to people who want to lose weight, but to everyone who wants to be at the top in endurance sports.

When you're fine-tuning your training plans, isn't it a good idea to also think about how to connect it with your diet?

Glycogen reserves are an important performance factor for every athlete. You can think of them as sugar pantries – like a stock fuel tank with fuel for high engine performance. Glycogen is your gold – it's the fuel that allows you to work longer at a higher heart rate. When you run out of glycogen, you lose strength and speed.

Sufficient glycogen reserves are also useful for several hours of endurance activities. Although mainly fats are burned during them, the body also draws on glycogen reserves. When glycogen runs out, you hit an imaginary wall.

Supplementation strategy – learn to dose the right amount at the right time


If you are persistent and try popular low-carbohydrate diets with a higher fat intake (approx. 120g of carbohydrates per day), you have the advantage of training fat metabolism all day long. By cutting back on fat, you force the body to use more fat. And during aerobic training you will intensify the burning of fats. On low-carbohydrate days, it is usually not a problem to manage easy aerobic training.

For relaxation, you can usually do 2 hours of easy endurance running on a low-carb diet (some people can do more, less advanced people can only do it for an hour - it depends on how you are doing with glycogen).

You can improve your endurance by taking a complex mix of amino acids before aerobic training. Some use BCAA, which may be better than just water, but complex amino acids (EAA + BCAA) work better. That is why we offer complex essential amino acids in Kaged Muscle Amino Synergy , which are produced by fermentation, of plant origin. Winner of the expert jury as the most breakthrough product.

A lot of amino acids also have an effect on the efficiency of fat burning, on blood circulation, on the nervous system, etc. Supplementing with amino acids is especially crucial if you didn't have any protein a few hours before training. A good option for supplementing amino acids can be some high-quality protein (ideally high-quality whey isolate - one of the best-selling proteins in the world is  Dymatize Iso 100 Protein.

If you run in the heat or you longer aerobic training awaits , it is good to supplement ions during aerobic training, or even a smaller amount of energy in the form of sugars - ion drinks from Skratch are a great choice , which are not overloaded with sugars, contain the ideal ratio of ions, do not stick to the mouth and, unlike many gels, taste great (although I understand that taste is a purely individual matter). In addition, they are completely natural without dyes and other scary additives that you sometimes come across in gels or carbohydrate drinks).

Anaerobic training


The total intake of carbohydrates per day should be around 6 to 8 g per 1 kg of your weight (somewhere up to 10 g is reported for extreme performances)

Example: if you have a demanding training session at 6:00 p.m., you will have a complex breakfast with slow carbohydrates in the morning (porridge with fruit, nuts and seeds/eggs, pastries, avocado, juice), a complex lunch with a carbohydrate side dish (turkey slice, sweet potatoes , vegetables) and around three o'clock can still be followed by a snack with fast and slow carbohydrates (bakery, yogurt, fruit/energy bars with flakes, seeds and dried fruit/toast with egg or turkey ham and fruit juice, etc.). Skipping a snack can be afforded by those who have larger reserves of glycogen. You will be able to cover your own training, which will not be longer than an hour, from your glycogen reserves , and you will need water for hydration.

If you need a "kick" before training, you can buy a variety of pre-workout supplements that contain a mix of stimulants, vitamins that reduce oxidative stress, plus other substances that increase blood flow or affect the function of neurotransmitters. You will have more energy, you will be more focused and it will allow you to be more explosive.

Read the composition and choose according to what you need (someone wants to increase strength and uses kickers with creatine, someone wants to reduce acidity, so they look for beta-alanine, someone for blood circulation, so they look for supplements with NO boosters). An example of a very well-tuned kicker is MyoBloX LOCO superior for workout.

If there are demanding training sessions in the morning, then again it will depend on whether you want to tap into your glycogen stores more. If so, you can take it on an empty stomach (or just supplement with complex amino acids to protect muscle mass - I highly recommend it, it will also have a positive effect on performance). By training on an empty stomach, you will ensure more intense pumping of glycogen reserves. If you feel low on energy, then have something light before your workout – maybe a peanut butter banana/egg waffle, toast and a fruit/ protein smoothie/smoothie .


If the intensive training is longer (mostly we mean longer than an hour) , you will need to supplement carbohydrates even during the activity. If the intensity is not extreme, you can use less sweetened ionic drinks, for example, Skratch Labs ion drink.

But if it's going to be a massacre, you should add extra carbs to your drink.

This is where I see the big advantage of less sweetened ionic drinks... you add carbohydrates as needed. You can thus precisely adjust the drink according to a specific training session.

But do not overdo it with the amount of carbohydrates, so as not to create a hypertonic drink (you need to monitor the osmolality of the drink, which will determine how well the drink will be absorbed). For long training sessions or races, combine quick sugars with something that will provide energy gradually. If you used, for example, only fast sugars with a high glycemic index, the energy supply would be sudden and short-lived (and there would be a risk of the aforementioned hitting the wall :-)).

Manufacturers of carbohydrate drinks or gels usually use a combination of fast sugars (glucose, fructose, sucrose) and maltodextrin. But maltodextrin does not sit well in someone's stomach. Fast carbohydrates are usually dosed with slower ones in a ratio of 1:2, in a dose of approx. 70g of carbohydrates per 1 liter.

A very popular choice instead of maltodextrin is a special type of carbohydrate – Vitargo . It is a special patented high-molecular carbohydrate. A Vitarga molecule is one hundred to a thousand times larger than a maltodextrin or glucose molecule (the molecular weight of maltodextrin is approximately 1,000-10,000, glucose approximately 180, for Vitarga it is an incredible 500,000 to 700,000).

Because Vitargo has a low osmolality , it is absorbed very quickly and replenishes energy very efficiently. The advantage is that it won't cause you stomach problems (larger amounts of carbohydrates often cause cramps and bloating.

Vitargo can deliver quick, but also long-lasting energy. Scientific studies have shown that athletes can not only increase their performance thanks to Vitarg, but also use it to replenish glycogen reserves much faster and more efficiently after training.

As for the taste, unflavored Vitargo has a sweet taste that takes on the flavor of what you mix it into (whether it's an ionizer or a post-workout protein shake). On the other hand, such an orange carbohydrate drink from Vitarga together with the Skratch Labs orange ionic drink does not taste bad at all:)!


It is best to try on yourself which carbohydrate combination will suit you best and what fits your stomach best . If you have digestion problems or need to replenish energy really quickly, then give Vitarga a chance and try it.

If it is going to be a really long training session or a race (stage races, 24-hour races), then you will also want to get some classic "solid" real food, you can either use homemade energy bars or make a snack that is light on the stomach (inspiration and lots of recipes for rice cakes, egg muffins and other snacks suitable for long races can be found in Portables - Biju Thomas, Allen Lim).

If you don't have time to prepare and pack anything, you can always buy high-quality energy bars - avoid hard, dry bars whose digestibility is not optimal. Choose bars without additives and preservatives. You can try, for example, the popular Skratch energy bars (they taste great, are NON-GMO, gluten-free, lactose-free, also suitable for vegans)

Another way to ensure a gradual replenishment of fast carbohydrates is to use so-called energy chews (this is a form of "candy" that dissolves continuously over a longer period of time).

There are different varieties on the market - again, choose those that are made from natural ingredients and do not contain any coloring or preservatives.

Skratch Labs Sport energy chews contain only tapioca syrup, condensed sugar cane juice, water, pectin, dried fruit juice, citric acid, lactic acid and sea salt - this composition enables the gradual release of sugars and precise dosing. 1 "candy" contains 4g of sugar (16 kcal).

Watch the total dosage of sugars if you use multiple sources of carbohydrates. The upper limit for carbohydrate intake is around 100g per hour - most athletes range from 60 to 90g per hour. Do not add more sugars. It will have no further benefit and will rather make you sick to your stomach.

For example, you can combine energy chews with Skratch Hydration drink, which contains 20g of carbohydrates per 0.5l. This allows you to adjust your carbohydrate intake exactly according to your current needs.


After a hard workout , you should then supplement with sugars with a high glycemic index. A combination of glucose and maltodextrin or sucrose (sugar) and maltodextrin is most often used. We chose a different path and bet on Vitargo here as well, because according to studies it simply has a better effect. If you want to replenish glycogen as quickly as possible, reach for Vitarga - you will appreciate the speed with which you replenish energy especially during races or during multi-phase training.

After any training (aerobic or anaerobic) it is recommended to supplement with a quick source of protein as well. The body needs enough building materials after training to repair and build muscle fibers. If you eat a meal of meat an hour after training, you have to count on the fact that the amino acids from the meat will be available to the body for muscle repair only after several hours, which is already too late. Therefore, give preference to proteins that are absorbed within a few tens of minutes. Some people use complex amino acids , where a relatively higher price can be a slight disadvantage. Some athletes therefore use protein drinks (the already mentioned whey isolate is an ideal choice).

That's why we also offer a regeneration combo, where you get both two selected products for a discounted price, which you can mix into a regeneration drink.


The timing and correct dosage of carbohydrates determines your performance and the increase in performance. Every athlete should think about when water is enough, when they need ions, and when they need to supply carbohydrates. Then he can get the most out of training and give maximum performance even at races.

When choosing supplements, choose products that allow you to adjust the amount of carbohydrates. Large doses of carbohydrates in one product can cause stomach problems. Always test the combinations of carbohydrates that suit you, and especially give preference to pure supplements without preservatives and dyes.

For short aerobic training sessions, water is sufficient . If you want to intensify fat burning, it's a good idea to save carbohydrates before training - just have a low-carb day. You can improve endurance by ensuring that you have enough amino acids before training (complex amino acids or a protein shake before training ). After a light workout, especially if you don't have time to eat, supplement with a quality protein drink.

During long aerobic training, it is advisable to use hydration drinks with ions and less sugar.


This article was originally published on the server , the author is chief editor Iva Kubešová. Ivo, thank you!

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