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What Carbohydrates during Exercise?

For heavy endurance sessions, prolonged, moderate > high intensity workouts or for multi workout events (think competitions), then carbohydrates during your workouts will likely aid performance. Longer more intense sessions will require more fuelling.

However, you are limited with how much carbohydrates you can eat during your training.

How much can you burn?

Different carbohydrates are used at different rates. Below is a summary of oxidation rates of popular carbohydrates used in sports drinks:

  • Glucose 1.1g/min

  • Sucrose 0.87g/min

  • Maltodextrin 1.1g/min

  • Fructose 0.5g/min

Using the carbohydrates above enables you to oxidise around 60g per hour with maltodextrin typically being the preferred choice.

Combining your carbs

To help increase your ability to take on more carbohydrates than 60g per hour, you can combine different carb sources. Imagine a house is your muscle, and to get into your house the sugar glucose has to come through the front door (using the transporter GLUT 5), but there’s only so much that can fit through at a time (around 60g per hour). However, unlike glucose, fructose (another type of sugar) gets into the house through the window (using a transporter called SGLT - 1), which can help increase oxidation (usage) rates up to 1.7g/min, which enables you to use upto 90g per hour!

However, this is still a lot of carbohydrates to ingest during exercise and can be very difficult to actually do. Try it!

This is why you should be practising taking on these amounts before your event to 'train your gut' and to assess tolerability. Runners and cyclists have been successful in taking on even more than 90g per hour

Alternatively, if you're a long course triathlete, ultra runner or cyclist, it may also pay to improve your ability to use fat as a fuel by getting fitter, or reducing carbohydrates around certain sessions.

Get tested

Through a combination of in house VO2Max testing and remote testing we are able to help you with fuelling strategies and to understand your carb:fat burn mix during exercise.

To see which package is right for you, check out >


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