Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Featured in Oriental Daily and Carbo Loading

I can now tell my kids that they were in newspaper when they were young. :)
The article, i was told, speaks about us having a healthy lifestyle. While we all have our sins with food and laziness, i sure hope the article (in the paper) gives an insight to our everyday's life.

On a separate and very related topic since it is 3 more days to go before SCKLM, i am going through some gastric issues and lack of rest. Just got back from wonderful Kuching (for work) and will be in Alor Setar and Sungai Petani for the next two more days. I am putting myself at a risk of not performing this Sunday with the lack of training and also planning of proper carbo-loading. The following paragraphs will show just how much i am not practising what i am preaching. It will serve as a good reminder for myself in the future.
Speaking of carbo-loading, many people did it wrongly, or has the wrong impression about doing any sort of loading before any major event. While some see it as an opportunity to "binge" on food, we must remember to fuel the body only with good food. We are what we eat. I've long forgo that i "live to eat" and would "eat to live". I am very very selective with the food i take and most of the time, i sounded anal about it.

Carbo-loading are typically done if you are going to embark on an endurance event of no less than 90minutes. And by that, the intensity and the purpose of the carbo-loading could differ from one person to another. This also meant that you should not justify carbo-loading just because you are planning to do a 10km run in 2hours or a 5km fun run in 90minutes. The most common mistake one could do is to carbo-load a day before any major race. The body could not convert the fuel to glycogen on time if you eat a day earlier. In fact, the usual acceptable timeline would be a week before the event.

Many people carbo-load wrongly as well, which could be demerits to the whole exercise of carbo-loading. Before one carbo-load, or consider to embark on doing so, they should exercise hard enough to deplete their energy or glycogen level to prepare the body for the upcoming loading. This state of "hunger" is important as our body sort of reacts to certain situation/abnormality when pushed to the extreme.

Then for the first 3 days, they will be on low carb diet with more protein and on the fourth day, they start to take in more carbo (high quality carbs yah) with low glycemic index (GI). What this meant is to take in complex carbs. Rice don't make it. So does pasta (a common mistake even by race organisers). The perceived starvation from the first 3-days of carbo-loading (which you aren't really loading anyway) will force the muscle to "absorb" as much carbs as possible on the last four days. This will effectively raise your serum glucose level (or blood glucose level) without raising your insulin (or getting the sugar high) or spiking your sugar level. You do not want to have an elevated sugar level as once the sugar has been used up, you will have what the athlete calls "Bonk". Your body will then crave for "sugary" food and your body will slowly shut down to conserve energy.

So what is good carbs? Aim for complex carbs. It is anything with whole wheat (full/whole grain stuff like oats, brown rice), fruits and even yogurt (plain variants) and milk (doesn't matter high or low fat). Basically, eat healthy unprocessed stuffs. Any food with GI less than 55 is good. Do some read up to find out more of food glycemic index (GI) value and you will understand what i meant. In fact, during the (only) three Ironman i entered in 2008, 2009 and 2010, i literally made my own energy food from expensive organic ingredient such as rice malt syrup and agave syrup. You can read them here : Homemade Energy Gel. Myself and wifey even made our own muesli as those available in the market are sugar laden and garners it's so called nutritional properties from SUGAR. Read about these wonderful muesli here : Homemade Muesli Bars.

Do complement the carbs you take with protein and oil too. An endurance athelete has to train his or her body to utilise protein and fat as fuel. While it sounded funny to be eating oil to burn oil, we are talking about good oil. The good virgin olive oil, the good grapeseed oil, the good CLA. Skip any animal (saturated) or peanut/palm oil. Load up a bit more on your salt and balance it off with banana (potassium in banana will balance off the natrium or sodium in the body). At the current point of time, i am a big fan of Chia seeds. Read about them in the Internet  my blog as well. :)

Remember to rest well, do some short runs, perhaps a 5km run at easy pace and learn to relax the muscle.

This last few days is important. There is really no time for last minute mileage for it will do nothing but burn you off within the first 10km of your marathon (42km ya) or 21km race.

Good luck and see all of you this Sunday!


  1. Nicely said!

    Good advice for those who only do their carbo loading the night before a marathon.

    See you on Sunday!

  2. thanks for the info..gonna share it in adination's page :)