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The theory behind carbo-loading is that it's supposed to maximize muscle glycogen (short-term fuel). I agree that eating enough carbs the day before is important, but I don't believe you can really "load" with extra glycogen. The body will store extra carbs as fat, not glycogen. However, eating carbs within an hour of exercise is important since that is the time your muscles are regenerating their glycogen stores.

In the case of endurance events carbo-loading is probably useless anyway since you'll run out of glycogen in about an hour. Thus, you must keep eating carbs all day long to keep your performance up. Your muscles can use fat as fuel, but does so less efficiently. Your brain needs glucose.

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