Practical carbohydrate loading for men and women

Consuming adequate energy from all the macronutrients AND a daily carbohydrate intake of 8-12 g/kg-day is likely sufficient to “load” glycogen stores for both males & females. 

Practically, this is a slight increase in carbohydrate in combination with reduced training load over the course of a race week. Depending on your activity level during taper week, the specific event, and appetite, you may consider slightly decreasing your daily fat intake while carb loading pre-event. 

Female athletes who are carbohydrate loading during the mid-follicular phase may also consider increasing carb intake closer to ~12 g/kg-day, depending on individual factors and preferences. 

TAKEAWAY: Protein and fat needs do not drastically change during event week, though it may beneficial to decrease foods high in fat/protein/fiber closer to the event or as needed based on individual preferences. When carbohydrate intake is generally sufficient (~8 g/kg-day) then ~3 days of increased carb intake ~10-12 g/kg-day should be sufficient to load glycogen regardless of gender or phase of the menstrual cycle in female athletes. If you don’t want to track food intake or count grams then you can start by just adding an additional serving of carbohydrate to each meal in the 3 days leading up to your event. 


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