Endurance athletes place an emphasis on carbohydrates much the same way as strength athletes favor protein. Of course, you don't want to overindulge in too much of a good thing or neglect the other macronutrients. If you do, your performance can suffer as a study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition illustrates.
Fifteen 12 to 14 year old female gymnasts were evaluated on several occasions. First, they drank only water before and during a fatiguing warm up circuit followed by 5 sets of balance beam exercises. Before the next workout, subjects were given a 20% matodextrin solution. The carbohydrate drink helped cut the number of falls nearly in half by improving muscle stamina and mental focus.
What's the ideal percentage of carbohydrates for athletes who need to compete at a certain weight? For tips on maintaining muscle mass while dieting, read today's Breaking News at optimumnutrition.com