Carb Loading: What Are the Pros and Cons?

Dr. Brett Berner
5 min readApr 12, 2022
Photo by Dan Gold on Unsplash

Many people want to improve how they feel and perform during physical activities.

It is a known fact that you can achieve these goals and more with the right nutrition strategies.

One of the most familiar nutrition tools used to achieve this is carb loading. Most athletes use carb-loading to improve their performance.

Carb loading involves adjusting your diet and physical activity levels to boost carb storage in your body.

But there are a couple of mistakes that should be avoided when using the carb-loading strategy.

This article explains the basics of carb-loading, the common mistakes many people make during carb loading, and recommends the proper way to do it.

What is carb loading?

Carbohydrates are an essential macronutrient. They are the body’s primary fuel source.

The human body burns the stored carbs to provide energy (1).

The body’s carb stores are called glycogen. Glycogen is mainly found in the muscles and liver (2).

Carb loading is a strategy that helps increase the glycogen stored in the body. The aim is to push the glycogen stores above their usual amount (3).

Carb loading involves several days of consuming more than enough carbs and engaging in less physical activity to reduce the number of carbs you burn.

A person can eat several carbs ranging from 2.3 — to 5.5 per pound of body weight daily. So, if you are weighing 70kg, that would mean 350–840 grams of carbs daily (3).

Many athletes often use carb-loading before some competition or events, all thanks to the importance of carbs as a significant source of fuel (4).

Photo by Jonathan Chng on Unsplash

But it is important to note that carb loading does not improve performance for all forms of exercise.

Carb loading may be appropriate for exercise that causes significant decreases in glycogen stored in the muscles. Such activities include marathon races or prolonged biking (5, 6).

Dr. Brett Berner

Upper Cervical Chiropractor in Lutz, FL. Schedule a complimentary consultation: text CONSULT to 813-578-5889 or