There are a variety of situations in sport and fitness when we may need to consume carbohydrate (carbs) as a way of energising and fuelling exercise. The purpose of this is to maximise performance…simple as. Isotinic drinks are the most popular ergogenic aid (performance enhancer) out there; they deliver your body with electrolyte, carbs, and of course...fluid! However, there are situations when fluid i.e. plain water or squash in enough, but how do we as the consumer know when this is, and how do we minimise the risk of accumulating body fat through the unnecessary consumption of carbs?
Well, you need to consider the type of activity you’re performing, as well as the duration of exercise, therefore the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) have devised a table explaining this:
Brief exercise (<45mins) = No carbs replenishment needed during.
Sustained high intensity exercise (45-75mins) = Small amounts including mouth rinse.
Endurance exercise including “stop and start” sports (1-2.5hrs) = 30-60g carbs per hour…e.g. High 5 Isotonic delivers 46g Carbs per 500ml serving.
Ultra-endurance events (>2.5-3hrs) = Up to 90g carbs per hour.
A concentrated source of carbs in the form of an energy gel can add to an isotonic beverage e.g. Science in Sport Energy Gel delivers 22g Carbs per sachet.
Australian Institute Of Sport, (2010). Fuelling your success, AIS Sports Nutrition. Retrieved 27th June, 2013, from http://www.ausport.gov.au/ais/nutrition/factsheets/basics/carbohydrate__how_much taken from Burke et al. (2010).