Is carb loading still a thing?

I thought it was largely debunked but :man_shrugging:t2: ?

If not, how’s this for a carb loading protocol from High5?

And…is High5 still the cheapest fuelling for training? I’m using water, salt and brown sugar on the trainer but long runs I don’t want to carry liquid.

Cyclists & Triathletes

Reduce your mileage 4 to 5 days before your event.

Each morning drink 750ml of Energy Drink. Wait for 30 minutes, then jump onto your bike and warm up easy for 10 minutes. Follow that warm up with a single 3 minute sprint. You should aim for a good lactic acid build-up during the sprint, which will encourage your body to store carbohydrate.

You should then aim to consume 10 grams of carbohydrate per kg body weight during the day. For a 70kg rider that would be 700 grams of carbohydrate per day.

Athletes often find it difficult to consume that amount of carbohydrate using normal food. To avoid the bulk of high-carb foods: every three hours drink 500ml of Energy Drink and eat one Energy Bar. After 12 hours this will provide you with around 360 grams of carbohydrate. Your normal high carbohydrate diet should provide the rest.

I think is roundly consider to be bollocks, but beyond the tisk of packing in a bit of fat why not try it in case it works.

However the High 5 one seems excessive and broadly centred around making you buy a bunch of their shit.

Just have a bit nore sugar and carbs than you usually do.

High 5 was on offer in my first tri and I have used it ever since. Their idea of making a syrup from the energy drink and dumping it in your BTA and taking water from the aid station is what I trained with and built my IM nutrition plan off. But the carb loading protocol is marketing BS


I still use High5 gels running marathons for no reason other than I have not had any stomach issues so far and if it aint broke dont fix it…|


carb loading isn’t debunked, it’s legit, it’s possible to increase your carb stores to give you more than you would have otherwise had.

it’s just highly questionable if it actually helps, you’ll still exhaust them in the longer events and you’ve added a load of weight at the start, certainly for anything over 2 hours almost everyone will be able to consume calories as they go at a rate to make it irrelevant so not worth the penalty.


Standard practice for me pre race day is smash the biggest pizza I can get my hands on washed down with some electrolytes followed by more electrolytes with breakfast on race morning.

Hasn’t seemed to help for Ironman though!


If you want to pre-load with carbs, I don’t understand why you would want to do it using High5 products and not real food?

Sports nutrition is great for why you’re doing sport, but it seems pointless (and expensive) to use it when you’re not :roll_eyes:


Presumably, the idea because you don’t want any fibre or other stuff that you’ll need to shit out before the event.


Ah yeah, that was it. I knew there was some thing. Cheers.

1 Like

That instantly makes me stop reading. If they cant even get the basic science right then what hope is there the rest is any good


I would say that carb loading is essential, though there are different interpretations of what that actually is.

To me is means that you are on the start line of a either a marathon or a ironman with some 2000ish ‘readily available’ calories inside of you. Why would you not do that? I don’t think I would bother with High 5 or any other drink/ supplement. Just eat normal food rich in carbohydrates!

The bit that might be debunked is the carbo depletion process that you would start the week before. This was typically followed by no carbs at all until the Wednesday evening. From that point onwards you eat whatever you liked and in theory were ‘super fueled’. Its worth remembering in those days there were no gels so essentially I was running my marathons on sips of water. Many of the other members of our club were the same and they were sub 2:30 guys.

Carbo loading might be applied I suppose to taking carbs on during a race. Well if you don’t do that in an Ironman or an Ultra (aim for 90g per hour) then frankly do deserve what will undoubtably happen to you :slight_smile:


Fooking hell Joe.

Stop reading this crap.

Just train. And cut down on the beers.


'cos it comes with a weight increase, which is the tradeoff.

On the night before a race?

correct…just usually badly applied

incorrect…as your training volume decreases, if you increase or even maintain your intake you will already be over compensating…

yep, but they are selling to the masses, so i guess they don’t care…this is the PT and j word market where this terminology holds supreme…



Yes, every extra calorie of glygoen stored adds 4g, that’s unavoidable.

to be fair even most physiology text books still get it wrong and Biology GCSE still mentions it (as does the texts and BBC Bitesize they are told to use as references) Did you know that as the “Lactic Acid” builds up it causes cramp as well according to the GCSE Biology syllabus :roll_eyes:

1 Like

They also still teach gravity as a force :man_shrugging:t2:


Agreed (it’s 3g water needed to store 1g carb from memory), but depending on the race, that can be a helpful /not unhelpful thing.

In a long course triathlon, you’re spending the first hour in water, so extra weight is irrelevant, at a time when you can’t take on fluids. So carb loading (versus not) is potentially getting you out of the water with fully topped up “normal” carb stores, and hydrated (as to release those extra carbs you also release the water needed to store them).

It’s a different question if you’re doing a cycling TT up a mountain straight from the gun, as that weight is probably a lot more impactful there.


I you’re using glycogen stores in the swim, you’re going to hard aren’t you?

It’s not on/off is it? You’re likely using some even sub-threshold