During exercise carbohydrate only needs to be consumed if you are performing medium – high intensity exercise for longer than 90 minutes. Assuming you have fuelled correctly before the session, you have sufficient energy stored in your body to perform.
During exercise longer than 90 minutes, or hen you have not fuelled sufficiently prior to starting, carbohydrate can be consumed to optimise performance. If you’re exercising for less than 4 hours glucose in the form of sports drinks and gels are a great choice. Aim to consume 30-60 g carbohydrate every hour. One gel or bottle of isotonic sports drink provides ~30 g carbohydrate.
During exercise, your fluid intake will be dependent on a number of variables such as climate, intensity of session, clothing worn and access to drinks. It is easy to remember to drink in hot conditions but be aware that sweat losses can be high, even in winter months when you are wearing lots of layers. Sip fluid little and often throughout training. During matches, drink 200-300 ml at half time and sip fluid little and often during substitutions. Do not gulp your drink!
Water or squash is sufficient for low intensity sessions up to 90 minutes. For higher intensity exercise of 90 minutes or longer, sessions in the heat or matches, a sports drink would be of benefit. This will supply carbohydrate to boost energy levels and electrolytes to help stimulate water absorption and replace electrolytes lost in sweat.