Carb loading and carbs for performance
This is one of the few questions that I've been wondering about for a long time and never found a good answer. I was just listening to an interview with Gary Taubes and one of the callers asked the question and I'm thinking "Yes! finally!" and then he only addresses endurance running...still yet to get a good answer to this. So:
1. For sports that require a good amount of anaerobic activity (I play soccer), do carbs improve performance for most people? This taking into acount that I'm already well adapted to burning fat as fuel.
2. If so, when should they be eaten? (Assuming 2-3 games a week). And what should the timing be like - aka sweet potato the night before? The morning of? Banana an hour before?
Just to screen answers a little bit, so far I haven't noticed any difference either way but I haven't controlled my little self experiments very well. In other words, "just do what feels best" isn't going to be too helpful.
I can't speak from experience - I gave up soccer a few years back, though I admit after refereeing 3 games in a row I found nothing so refreshing as a tall glass of cold milk! I do recall in a coaching book by Barry Robson (fastest goal ever scored by England in WC play) that his pregame breakfast was bacon and eggs. I don't remember whether he had any toast - I was all CW then, so I kind of goggled on the bacon and eggs part.
Well, most studies show high intensity aerobic work suffers when fasted (similar to a no-carb meal) vs a fairly high carb meal. The fasted groups probably weren't fat adapted though. The simplest way to find out would be for you to try it out Try eating ~100g starch 4-6 hours before your game (if you're playing in the morning eat them the night before), see how you feel. Then try eating a banana just before your game (you can try during aswell), and compare the two methods with your lowcarb performance.
^It's the anaerobic stuff I'm interested in. I think it's pretty clear that if you're fat adapted you run just fine without carbs and perhaps better, but I haven't got a good answer for sports involving a lot of sprinting. Like I said it's really hard to just go off of how I feel, because how I "feel" like I play is strongly influenced by how I play technically, not just how much energy I have. It makes self experimentation pretty hard.
I'll check out that panu link dragonfly, thanks.
And annlee, that's weird because I find usually drawn to milk after my games too.