Energy reservoirs of the human body

The human being has different energy reservoirs.

In practice every energy requiring action in the body needs ATP (= Adenosine Triphosphate). At the same time the energy contained ATP in ADP and P is dissociated, the freed-up quantity of energy can be used in the body, for example for the muscle contraction. The ATP storages in the body pass only for a few seconds.

The ATP is produced immediately again through the CP (= Creatinphosphate). Through it for example the muscle contraction can continue uninterruptible. The CP storages pass also only for some seconds.

The provision of larger quantities ATP will happen especially through the decomposition of carbohydrates and greasing, under determined circumstances also through the decomposition of proteins (see above).

The carbohydrate reservoirs will last for a few hours in normal everyday life activity and 3-5 meals per day, if they are running short, hunger is coming up. During the sport, the carbohydrates will suffice for maximally 2 to 2.5 hours.in dependence of the level of the Glycogen reservoir in liver and muscle and the load intensity. A carbohydrate intake during the load becomes therefore all the more important the longer and more intensive the load is.

The fat reservoirs of the body are practically inexhaustible, with the stored energy an athlete could go the entire Tour de France without additional energy intake. In practice this is impossible and however as already described, without carbohydrates the fat burning does not run permanently and the transformation of proteins into carbohydrates is too slow.

Energy requirement of athletes

The more intensively an athlete loads himself, the faster he runs or rides a bike for example, the higher is its energy demand.

Individual need

Graphic human body and demand of carbohydrates during sports
Average need of carbohydrates

The individual need of energy during endurance sports vary from person to person and depends on different conditions as:

  • individual physical conditions (age, weight, height, gender)
  • condition of the circuit (altitude profiles and ground)
  • kind of sport
  • individual performance
  • intensity of load

Low intensity:
Training with heart rate of 60 – 70 % of maximum heart rate.

High intensity:
Training/ competition with heart rate of 70 – 80 % of maximum heart rate.


According to training condition and intensity athletes require approx.. 30 – 40 g carbohydrates per hour at low intensity and up to 40 – 80 g of carbohydrates at high intensity of load. It is recommended to drink additionally water after each intake of carbohydrate gels, bars or energy drinks.

The higher the need of carbohydrates, the more exact it has to be paid attention to the composition of the received carbohydrates and the other ingredients of the sport nourishment in order to avoid activity reducing problems in the carbohydrate intake into the body.

In this context important above all are carbohydrates, water, sodium and potassium, that should exist in more optimal, coordinated quantity. All further ingredients should be minimized in order to minimize the load of the stomach.


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