Youth Wrestling




Carbohydrate Loading Pre-Event Sample Carbohydrate Loading Guide & Chart

Scientists at the University Of Western Australia reported a 90% increase in glycogen storage by simply consuming 12g of carbohydrate per kilogram of lean mass over the 24 hour period prior to competition. - Wikipedia

Carbohydrate loading is a process by which athletes temporarily alter their diet and increase carbohydrate consumption as part of their pre-competition nutrition and training plan. This can increase glycogen stores (one of the fuels used during competition).

Athletes refer to this pre-competition diet as the carbohydrate loading phase.

For endurance athletes like marathon runners, distance swimmers, cyclists and triathletes who burn fuel aerobically, carb loading may increase the threshold of carb depletion.

Also known as hitting the wall; it’s when your body no longer has carbs to burn as fuel so your metabolism switches to another energy source.  It starts to canabalize body tissue for fuel, namely muscle and fat stores.

Wrestlers are more susceptible to carb depletion due to the sport’s intense workouts and its culture of weight cutting which produces a double whammy.  Not only is food intake restricted, but forced dehydration also compounds the problem of energy levels.  This is especially true for tournaments that last two or more days.

The switchover to the alternate energy source can be catastrophic to the athlete who is untrained to handle the symptoms.  These include severe fatigue, muscle weakness, feeling light-headed and unbalanced.

So why would athletes want to practice carbohydrate loading prior to competition?

Depending on the individual athlete, your body has a limited amount of carbs it can burn before it must refuel with carbohydrate intake or switch to another energy source during competition.  Remember, burning carbs for energy is not like burning ATP which can be recharged with rest.

You can only replace carbohydrates through nutrition.

For most athletes, the number lies somewhere between 2000 and 3000 calories of carb burning fuel before the stores have to be replenished.  

By increasing carbohydrate intake, the athlete can increase their glycogen stores and delay the onset of carb depletion.

Modern day carbohydrate loading calls for increased carb intake in the three days leading up to competition.  The athlete’s normal diet increases its carbohydrate intake to 65-70% of total calories during this “loading” phase.  Carb depletion prior to loading should be avoided.

3-day pre-event wrestling training schedule

Day 3 Training is long and hard

Day 2 Training is short and intense.

Day 1 Training is very light.

Pre-Event Sample Carbohydrate Loading Guide Below is a diet for 3 day pre-event carbohydrate loading.  At just under 3000 calories and 600 grams of carbohydrates, it represents 4 grams of carbs for each pound of bodyweight, for a 150 pound male.

Carbohydrate loading should only be used 2 or 3 times per year by the well-trained wrestler.  As with any sudden change in diet or exercise, always consult your doctor or nutritionist before implementation.

By: Rick Contrata


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