Great news for GU users…while it’s long been believed that the upper limit of tolerable carb intake was 90 g per hour of exercise for activity lasting more than 2-3 hours, new research suggests that athletes can tolerate more carbs without increasing GI issues. That is, studies not only show that 120 g per hour is well tolerated and may improve performance and recovery from strenuous exercise, but also that different forms—gel, drink, chews—or a combination thereof offer equal advantages, like increased carbohydrate oxidation (the amount of carbs burned for energy), during prolonged exercise.
The takeaway? You may be able to take more fuel on board than previously thought. More carbs means more energy to burn before dipping into your limited muscle and liver glycogen stores.
However, achieving such high levels of carb intake depends on two factors: 1) the use of a carbohydrate blend (such as maltodextrin and fructose, the carb blend used in GU and Roctane products) to maximize intestinal absorption while limiting GI issues, and 2) implementing some form of “gut training” with your planned sports nutrition, which should be practiced well in advance of any important event or competition. At least two weeks of gut training can improve running performance and GI symptoms, but longer—four or more weeks—is even better. So, grab your GUs, Chews, and Roctane and get ready to rock.
What does 120 g carbs equate to?
2 servings of Roctane Energy Drink Mix
1 serving REDM, 3 gels
1 serving REDM, 1 sleeve chews, 1 gel