The meals before long-term efforts must be rich in carbohydrates. This can be started several days before the race. In this manner, the glycogen depots will fill additionally. This method is called glycogen overcompensation. There are several methods to increase glycogen stores in the muscles.

First method: the last three or four days before a race you switch from a normal varied diet to a high-carbohydrate diet. Consequently the glycogen reserves in the muscles increase from 15 to 25 grams per kilogram of muscle tissue. During these 3 or 4 days, there is no longer an exhaustive training regime.

Second method: This consists of a combination of diet and physical exertion. First the glycogen supply is consumed entirely by a long exhaustive exercise. Then a few days followed by a high-carbohydrate diet. This method is to double glycogen stores. Glycogen increases from 15 to 30 grams per kilogram of muscle. During the days of a carbohydrate-rich diet  you should not train exhaustively.

Third method: it is based on physical exertion and expansion of the diet regimen. Also, now the glycogen supply is emptied by an exhaustive training, followed by 3 days with a carbohydrate-restricted diet. During those three days the nutrition is fat and protein-rich. And during these three days may be trained heavily to further deplete the carbohydrate depots. Followed by three days with high carbohydrate rich diet without heavy and exhausting workouts. Glycogen then rises from 15 grams to 50 grams per kilogram of muscle.

Under normal conditions, the total glycogen content is about 400 grams. By the diet manipulations above the glycogen stock can rise up to 800 grams.

The third method is difficult to be carried out. A diet regimen of a week takes a long time and requires a lot of discipline. The exhausting workout is followed by three days with a protein-rich and high-fat diet. During these days a strong sense of fatigue dominates which is a psychological disadvantage for athletes while preparing for an important race.

Another disadvantage of extreme glycogen storage is an increase in the amount of water in the muscle tissue. This results in an increase in body weight. At maximum glycogen storage, the weight gain from 2 to 4 kg is normal. This extra padding can provide a feeling of heaviness and muscle stiffness. Also diarrheas may occur if one is not sufficiently accustomed to a high-carbohydrate diet.

The glycogen storage by Method 1 and Method 2 is easier to carry out and better to train in the preparatory period.


The last small meal before a race or a long workout should be consumed within two hours before the start of the effort; larger meals for endurance athletes  at least three hours in advance. These meals should be rich in carbohydrates. This allows the glucose level in the blood will remain constant so that one continues to feel good during exercise.

Because the body uses energy and moisture after the last meal, it is advisable to take, about 5 minutes before the start of the sport, a high carbohydrate drink: in total of about 300 to 500 ml. If this scheme is used, one can count after the start on an elevated blood sugar level.

Use of large amounts of glucose or sugar, especially in liquid form, less than one hour before the start of the race or before training is not recommended.


If 45 minutes before the start up 75 grams of glucose in 300 ml of water is taken, the pancreas produces extra insulin. Insulin ensures that glucose is stored from the blood in the muscles.  The insulin content is still increased at the beginning of the race. The combination of exertion and the increase in insulin content result in a too quick drop of the blood-glucose level. Thus the athlete feels weak and he cannot follow the group. This unfavorables phenomenon is known as the insulin shock. By eating during the exertion this problem does not arise, because no insulin is produced during exercise. Therefore it is better to eat nothing for one and a half to two hours before the race.

A large amount of sugar (75 grams in 300 ml water), taken 45 minutes before the start of the race, causes an increase in insulin levels in the blood. The consequence of this is that the glucose level in the blood falls, and also during the effort is this level lower than without the intake of sugar. Therefore, the stock muscle glycogen must be addressed earlier making this stock previously depleted, resulting in a faster fatigue during prolonged efforts (to Costill).

If the sugar concentration in the sports drink is not too high, this effect does not arise. The concentration should not exceed 2.5 grams of glucose per 100 ml of water.

Up until half an hour before the start the drink can be taken without adversely affecting performance.

Also diluted fruit and vegetable juices may be drunk up to half an hour prior to the start.


Many athletes experience digestive disorders of nervous nature before a race. The symptoms such as diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and abdominal cramps can disrupt performance severely. By replacing solid food with liquid food these symptoms can be minimized. Liquid diet has a balanced nutritional value,  is tasty, easy to digest totally, and passes through the stomach quickly.

Because in liquid food  also moisture is included in addition to the energy. Liquid food can be a solution for athletes with nervous stomach problems. The body needs time to adjust to any diet regimen; therefore, the transition to liquid diet should be trained well in advance of the race period.