Carbohydrates (CH) loading is useful for an event that lasts more than 30-40 minutes, nevertheless, we think that its effect is overestimated, it has many cons and little benefit.

CH loading in the last 7-10 days before a competition of fewer than 30-40 minutes is not necessary. CH loading has one main disadvantage, overdoing this can lead to fluid retention in muscle mass and have a detrimental effect, one molecule of glucose is stored by the muscle with 4 molecules of water, the athlete can feel his body too heavy, this cause bad proprioception feelings.

Triathlon has the peculiarity that alternates three different motor patterns during the competition, so different muscles are working, CH depletion doesn’t always happen in the same body area, therefore the rule of more than 30-40′ to do CH loading doesn’t work. Before an Olympic Triathlon is not necessary to do a CH loading.

To improve your fat metabolism is better for your health, doing intermittent fasting, if you haven’t done that, we don’t advise to you the CH loading, the improvement of fat metabolism is a much more powerful tool, for training and competition.

How to do a CH loading?

– It is carried on in the last 7 days

– 3-4 days of CH depletion and 3-4 days of CH loading

– Depletion

Cut off the intake of high CH foods, the less the better.  For example: cereals, legumes, potatoes, bananas.

– CH Loading

Increase slightly more than usual your intake of high CH foods, not too much because you will be at risk of gaining weight, the CH you don’t store is accumulated in fat. Follow the hungry to measure the quantity of food you must eat.


Carlos Martín Caro