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Energy sources in sports: How to get the energy you need

How to get energy sources for your best performances


A car cannot run without fuel. And without energy, you can’t perform.

That’s why it’s so important to eat appropriately when you’re exercising.

Who wants to experience running out of gas in the middle of a competition?

But where do I get this energy from? In the following blog article you will learn which energy sources you can use to always be able to give full throttle.

Macronutrients as energy sources

Fats, carbohydrates and proteins are the three macronutrients that our body always needs. 

The main function of carbohydrates is to provide energy. 

Fats are components of cell membranes. They are also important for the structure and function of nerves and are needed for the formation of various messenger substances. The body’s largest energy reserve is body fat. 

Proteins are especially important for regeneration and can be seen as the building blocks of our muscles. Proteins are also the building material for human genetic information and the body’s own enzymes. 

If the body cannot sufficiently cover its energy needs from other food components such as carbohydrates and fats, it can also use proteins as a source of energy. This is then called a catabolic situation, which means that the body breaks itself down in order to be able to provide any energy at all, which we as athletes want to prevent at all costs!

Energy carrier adenosine triphosphate

As endurance athletes, we need a lot of energy to go fast on the bike, road, snow, etc. This energy is called adenosine triphosphate, or ATP for short. 

ATP is the universally available energy carrier in every cell. However, we only have a small amount of ATP in the cells. This means we have to produce this ATP again and again. We achieve this through the energy-providing nutrients carbohydrates and fats. 

Our body can carry out this energy supply in two ways: Either with oxygen, called aerobic energy supply, or without oxygen, called anaerobic energy supply. 

Aerobic energy metabolism is active most of the time. Here, energy – i.e. ATP – can be produced via fats and carbohydrates. Depending on the intensity of the aerobic activity as well as the athlete’s physical condition, the share of carbohydrate and fat stores used in the energy supply varies. 

From the time when the oxygen demand exceeds the oxygen availability in the cell, the energy supply via carbohydrates gains in importance up to a certain maximum, until energy production can no longer be maintained and the exercise intensity decreases. 

Importance of carbohydrate and fat burning in sports

Whether the body resorts to carbohydrates or fats depends on the intensity and duration of physical exercise. 

The lower the intensity, the less carbohydrates the body consumes as it resorts to fats first. After all, the body wants to conserve its carbohydrate stores. However, it never works completely without carbohydrates, because fats are burned in the fire of carbohydrates. 

This means that the processes of carbohydrate and fat burning occur simultaneously in the aerobic energy supply. Depending on the intensity, one type of combustion predominates. In anaerobic energy supply, the body only resorts to carbohydrates. You can divide your training sessions into three categories to know which energy supply predominates:

Low Intensity: The training session has a low intensity and the breathing pattern is relaxed, you can easily have a conversation whilst exercising. At this intensity, the body can take up sufficient oxygen and transport it into the cells, where it is available for the provision of energy. Here, the energy is mostly provided via fats. 

If you want to gain energy during a casual session via fat metabolism, then give your body just a little bit of carbohydrates, which you can do via our SLOW CARB products. 

Moderate Intensity: Talking is becoming increasingly difficult and in some cases intervals are already taking place. Here, the body now increasingly relies on carbohydrates and the fat metabolism loses importance. 

High Intensity: During high intensity training or all-out situations, the body can maintain the power only for a certain time before going back to a moderate intensity, where the absorption of oxygen into the cell is guaranteed again. The energy supply here runs only on carbohydrates. 

In this instance you will find your POWER CARB to be very well suited. The special mixture of different carbohydrate sources goes quickly into the blood and the energy is thus available to you after a short time. Also GEL 40, RACE CARB X and FAST CARB would be good sources of energy or carbohydrates.

The unit of measurement for ingested food or the amount of energy consumed by the body is kilocalories (kcal). Here you can see the three main nutrients and how many calories they provide:

1g carbohydrates = 4 kcal

1g protein = 4 kcal

1g fat = 9 kcal 

Here it should be briefly mentioned that 1 g of alcohol provides 7 kcal to the body. You see, alcohol provides more energy than carbohydrates, however, it acts as a cellular toxin and can be addictive. That is why this is called empty calories, which do more harm than good to the body. 

By breaking down carbohydrates, we achieve a faster energy supply than when burning fatty acids. The energy yield per liter of oxygen for carbohydrates is also higher. Carbohydrates are therefore THE decisive energy supplier.

Due to the fact that we can only store carbohydrates in the liver and muscles, we need to consume carbohydrates daily to conserve the stores. The amount is of course dependent on various factors such as body weight and the amount and intensity of physical activity.

Good sources of energy and foods rich in carbohydrates

In the table you can see a list of different carbohydrate-rich foods that provide a good source of energy. For everyday life, it is always helpful to take a look at the food label. There you can see how many carbohydrates per 100g of food a product contains. 

In principle, basic foods are to be preferred for everyday training. If you tolerate whole grain products well, then opt for the whole grain version, because it contains important fiber, which is essential for a healthy intestinal flora and makes an important contribution to your health. 

The following foods are high in carbohydrates and therefore good for replenishing the carbohydrate stores in your body. 


g carbohydrates per 100g food





Basmati rice


Dried dates




Whole wheat pasta










Wholemeal bread








The important carbohydrate intake during training

The above foods are not necessarily suitable to be eaten during exercise or just before. 

For this purpose, there arw special sports foods that the gastrointestinal tract can absorb well and promptly. The following table shows how many carbohydrates are contained in our MoN Sports products. 

You can see that these products are very high in carbohydrates and are specifically designed for sports. You can find out how many carbohydrates you need per workout in our Fuel calculator.

The data in the table is initially given per 100g of product, but if you look at the 3rd column you will see how many carbohydrates each dosage contains.

MON product

g carbohydrates per 100g food

g carbohydrates (per serving)

Slow Carb


32,2 (35)

Slow Carb Heat


30,5 (35)

Fast Carb


37,6 (40)

Power Carb


76,7 (80)

Power Carb Heat


75 (80)

Race Carb X


120 (150)

Recovery Shake


16,6 (40)

Recovery 8


37,9 (50)

GEL 40 Mango


40 (60ml)

GEL 40 Caffeine Matcha


40 (60ml)

Porridge Bar


43 (70)

Porridge Bar Blueberry


46,9 (70)

Protein Bar Peanut


35 (70)

How much energy do I need now as an athlete?

Having discussed the importance of carbohydrates and the intake of them via recommended foods, the question naturally arises: 

How much energy do I actually need on a daily basis? 

The answer to this question is based individually on body weight, activity level and training intensity. Ideally, you need to know your exact energy expenditure in training and at rest so that you can properly assess your energy needs and thus carbohydrate requirements. To calculate your total energy expenditure, add your basal metabolic rate to your power expenditure. 

There are different formulas for this, such as the Cunningham or the Harris-Benedict formula. But since these formulas are very complicated, we recommend the analysis tool from our nutrition expert Robert Gorgos: Sentiero

Now that you know approximately your total energy expenditure, you should try to distribute calories smartly throughout the day. How many carbohydrates you need daily depends, among other things, on the intensity of your workout. 

The recommended carbohydrate intake in regards to various exercise intensities is as follows: 

For light intensity, the recommendation is 3-5 g of carbohydrates (CHO) per kilogram (kg) of body weight (BW) per day. 

For moderate loads  5-7 g CHO per kg BW per day are desirable. 

For example, if you do interval training, i.e. moderate-high intensity training, 6-10 g CHO per kg BW per day is recommended. 

For high-intensity training sessions and competitions, you should even aim for 8-12 g CHO per kg BW. 

For a competition like a marathon, it also makes sense to fill up your energy stores with plenty of carbohydrates in advance. You can read more about how exactly Carbo-Loading works, in this article HERE.

You should consume this energy during and around the session to preserve glycogen stores in the long run and avoid negative effects on the body. In this article you can learn how to distribute this energy throughout the day


Burke, L., Deakin, V. & Minehan, M. (2021). Clinical Sports Nutrition.

Raschka, C. & Ruf, S. (2022). Sport und Ernährung. Wissenschaftlich, basierte Empfehlungen, Tipps und Ernährungspläne für die Praxis.

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