There’s this strange misconception going around that women are, in fact, “small men”. And because of this, when it comes to fuelling your body as a female athlete you must therefore require fewer carbs than your male counterparts. Say what?
The thing is, this is actually not true. So that brings us to the next question, how many carbs per hour should a female athlete consume?
In this article, we’ll bust that myth and remove the misinformation around carb consumption as a female athlete.
Myth: Women need fewer carbs than men
Yep, this myth is completely false. The truth is, female athletes should actually consume the same amount of carbs as male athletes.
Here’s why: The latest research shows that there is no scientific reason that we should lower the number of carbs per hour an athlete consumes, regardless of their current body weight. This is because all athletes (both male and female) absorb carbohydrates at similar rates, irrespective of their size.
Now to be fair, this research is not gender specific, however generally speaking most women weigh less than men, making the research interesting to analyse.
For instance, you could put a 65 kg female athlete next to a 85 kg male athlete, and both athletes will absorb the same amount of carbohydrates per minute. Interesting isn’t it?
Now you might come back and say that the athlete with the lower body weight would surely burn fewer carbs.
And while that may be true in some cases, in most cases the amount you can absorb per hour will still be less than what you are burning.
More carbs can give you a performance advantage
Now here’s where things get really interesting! As a female athlete who has a smaller body mass typically than her male counterparts, you’ll be burning fewer carbs per hour. However, if you consume the same amount of carbs as a male athlete, you’ll be replenishing a higher percentage of the carbs you are burning.
And what this means is that with more energy coming in and relatively less moving out, you’ll have a performance advantage!
Why is there a tendency for female athletes to under fuel with carbs?
To be honest, there’s no real reason why women under fuel other than many female athletes are operating under the false belief that they require less carbs than male athletes.
To up your carbohydrate intake before practice or competing, consider adding a protein bar or healthy high-carb snack to your workouts.
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