Glucose Range for Athletic Performance
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Ideal Glucose Range For Athletic Performance & Good Health

Diabetes mellitus is a condition that may be found in the fittest people. At the same time, it is a fact that diabetes connects to a person's lifestyle; a sedentary life with poor food habits is the most common root cause for diabetes. However, people who follow fitness regimens, are diet conscious, have a correct body mass index, and are active in sports like athletics can develop diabetes.

How Does Glucose Control Your Athletic Activity?

For an athlete, sporting equipment like shoes, gears, and other essentials is an integral part of performing in the chosen discipline. Nowadays, sophisticated kits have been developed, enhancing an athlete's performance.

A sports gear is an external enabler helping to improve an athlete's performance. The internal enabler that helps and determines your performance on the track is how you manage your body’s fuelling system. Our body is like a car. If you want high performance from your vehicle, you must keep the same fuelled and mechanically stable.

Likewise, your body needs to be fully energised to perform like a well-oiled car. Glucose forms the primary source of energy in our bodies. Our brain and body muscles draw energy from the glucose present in our blood. Thus taking sufficient amount of glucose in diet is good for athletes.

Energy in the form of glucose required by the body to stand the rigour of athletics is sourced from a balanced diet plan. A balanced diet plan needs to include protein, fat and carbs at optimum levels. As an athlete, you need to be conscious of your blood sugar level, as it may help in improving or pulling down your performance. An athlete needs to have maximum metabolic health to perform at optimum.

Also read about blood sugar random

Blood Sugar for Athleste's and its Impact on Performance

If the blood sugar level is higher than expected or abnormally low, it is detrimental to an athlete's performance. If the sugar level in the blood is high, it results in lower oxygen consumption during exercises. Muscle development does not respond to the workouts with a high sugar level, even if the exercise regime is intense.

An athlete has typically intense and routine cardio workouts. Under an exercise regime, muscle fibres need more glycogen and oxygen to expand to the desired level. However, suppose the sugar level is high. In that case, the exercise will not yield the desired effect as muscles will not develop as expected and eventually may lead to a permanent hindrance to the growth of muscles. Sustaining high blood sugar levels and an intense workout regime befitting an athlete may also lead to premature death.

A low glucose level in the bloodstream is also not ideal for an athlete. When engaging in intense physical exercise, the body needs glucose and fatty acids to generate additional energy. For the first 15 minutes of a workout, glucose is drawn from the blood, after which glucose is drawn from glycogen, the glucose storehouse in the body. With lower blood sugar levels, sufficient quantities of glucose will not be available for use; hence, performance will suffer.

Engaging in intense exercise with lower sugar levels may lead to irregular heartbeat and body shaking/shivers. If you fall asleep in this condition, you may experience nocturnal hypoglycemia. For athletes it becomes it very important to maintain blood sugar levels. Also know about normal sugar level.

What is Metabolic Flexibility?

An athlete needs to understand the concept of metabolic flexibility. When a body maintains a balance between the two sources of energy, i.e., fat and sugar and draws fuel to sustain the same, it is called metabolic flexibility.

Under a metabolically flexible condition, the body can make optimum use of whatever fuel source is available to convert it into energy. During an athlete's lengthy and intense workout, metabolic flexibility is highly critical as the body under stress requires additional energy to keep going.

The process of burning fuel in a body may be categorised as under:

Glucose Oxidation 

It is a process by which the glucose extracted from the food you eat gets broken down into sugar, producing energy. The glucose thus generated forms the fuel for the body to function.

Fat Oxidation

During extended gaps between meals, the body starts extracting fuel from the stored fat in your body to keep going. The process of drawing from the fat reserve in your body is called fat oxidation.

As an athlete, you need to be careful and ensure that your body has the metabolic flexibility to switch between glucose and fat oxidation and remain active.

Ideal Glucose Range For Athletic Performance & Maintaining Blood Sugar Levels for Athlete's

For an athlete, the body has to sustain the rigour of an intensive exercise regime. Also, the body needs to stand up to the stress and deliver optimum results at the time of performance. 

To be an athlete, one must ensure the body has a healthy balance of glucose supply. If you feel the glucose level in your blood is dipping, replenish it without delay. Maintaining metabolic health is one of the prime keys to success as an athlete.

The optimum reading for a glucose level in the blood varies from person to person. As a thumb rule, one may aim at maintaining a glucose level of 100 to 250 mg/dL or 5.6 to 13.9 mmol/L. The trick is to snack before working out. The snack menu may consist of fruits or glucose tablets containing 15 to 30 gms of carbs, which will provide you with the raw material for the fuel required to perform fitness drills effectively. You can also use glucose tablets to maintain blood sugar levels to sustain performance.

Also read about uses and side effects of sugar tablet


One may conclude by stating that maintaining metabolic health is the key to success for an athlete. You must maintain appropriate glucose levels in your body to perform at the highest level. Any disruption in the glucose level in the body will be detrimental to performance as an athlete. The body must also maintain metabolic flexibility and draw upon the available energy sources.

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This website's content is provided only for educational reasons and is not meant to be a replacement for professional medical advice. Due to individual differences, the reader should contact their physician to decide whether the material is applicable to their case.