How to Train High & Train Low for Endurance Athletes

by Rachel Boutagy

Endurance athletes are primarily concerned about either performance, or getting the most out of every training session (adaptation). Sports nutrition research has highlighted the need for a twin approach to both of these outcomes.                        
Elevated carbohydrate stores prior to exercise increase performance. Carbohydrate consumption post-training increases glycogen storage in preparation for the next day's session. However, can carbohydrate intake sometimes be 'too much of a good thing?'
Research over the past several years has identified that training adaptation is improved when carbohydrates are strategically minimized around key time periods in relation to training. This has been termed the 'train low' or 'sleep low' paradigms in sports nutrition.
So what does it look like:  
"The Train High Paradigm"                                                                                             
If high level performance is desired (such as interval training or a race) or rapid refueling is required due to another session requiring maximal carbohydrate levels being undertaken within the same day (or a stage race in cycling), then 30-40 grams of protein should be added to roughly double the amount (60-80g) of carbohydrates, such as honey, dates and bananas.    
'The Train Low Paradigm"                                                                                             
If the goal is to maximise adaptation to training sessions, then abstaining from carbohydrates before, during or after allows for three different strategies to 'train low'. When this is the case, consume 30-40g of protein before or immediately after training sessions and avoid carbohydrate containing foods until the next day or for up to six or more hours. ANPC's WPC blends are a great choice for this as the carbohydrate sources in our protein are of a particular type that feed the microbes of the gastro-intestinal tract and do not make their way to muscle in the form of glycogen.      
A coach would never prescribe the same training session every day. Weekly volume and session intensity and duration are constantly changing when seeking to improve performance. It makes sense that carbohydrate levels in muscle should also be varied, so that the metabolic systems are presented with a mixture of low and high carbohydrate environments to keep the adaptation signals flowing strongly.                
This is one idea for a training high drink and will give you:                                      
Protein 43.7g
Carbohydrate 70.6g
Fat 3.4g
Dietary Fibre 10.4g


 You can manipulate the grams of dates, bananas and honey to give you slightly less or slightly more carbohydrate.

60g     ANPC grass-fed WPC with pure vanilla bean
30g     dried dates
100g   banana
25g     organic raw honey
1cup   filtered water
3         ice-cubes                                                                                                          
Place all ingredients in the blender. Whiz it up and drink!