Carb loading is generally practiced by athletes before big sporting events. It is the process of loading up on carbs so you body has higher levels of energy to successfully compete in sport competitions.
Carb loading usually involves heavy, intense exercise a week prior to a major sporting event. You basically exhaust your body and cut back on carbohydrates. A few days prior to the race, you up your carbohydrate intake to a very high level and this encourages your body to absorb a higher level of glycogen.
Glycogen helps you with long-term energy. Your body can only store glycogen for 90 minutes, which is why when at the gym you might feel great for an hour but then start to feel tired afterwards. Carb loading ensures that you will have maximum energy levels that go past the 90-minute intervals.
It is recommended that you consume around 5-7 grams of carbs per 2 lbs of body weight. When carb loading, you would need to consume around 9-10 grams per 2 lbs of body weight.
A good suggestion is eating a bunch of little, carb filled meals throughout the day instead of dramatically increasing your carb intake with the normal three meal a day diet, this decreases the chance of feeling bloated or sick.
It is also important to remember carb loading is about increasing your carbohydrate intake and not your calories. Read more about carb loading on the homepage of Mayo Clinic. To load up your carbohydrate intake isn’t an excuse to eat high calorie foods such as white breads or jams, instead stick with whole grains, raw and steamed veggies, legumes, dark breads, fresh fruit, and complex carbohydrates, which are a healthier alternative.
Also remember to make sure you are still getting enough protein, fruits, and vegetables in your diet as these are also important to your health and your physical well-being.