Correct hydration is essential for everyone and as an athlete or cyclist you need to be extra sure that you keep the levels of electrolytes in your body carefully balanced.
This is because you lose vital minerals like sodium and potassium through sweating when you do hard exercise. These minerals are needed for proper heart function and you don’t want to mess around with that!
With the advances in the science of Sports Nutrition in recent years, it’s now easy to top up your electrolyte level with carefully balanced sports’ drinks that’ll keep you safe and healthy.
Here are some useful guidelines for staying hydrated during training and racing.
Always drink about 7 – 9 glasses of water each day. Before you do hard exercise prepare your body by having a good-quality sports' drink. If you forget, or train really hard it’s a good idea to drink a sports’ supplement recovery drink afterwards.
If you don’t know much about sports’ supplements yet, go to a sports shop, cycling club or bike store and ask them what the experienced riders and professionals use.
Generally speaking, for every hour you’re riding you should be drinking 1 – 2 bottles of electrolyte sports’ drinks, depending on how hard you’re riding and the temperature. So, that would be about 16 ounces minimum to 25 – 28 ounces electrolytes or more if necessary – plus one bottle of water per 60 – 80-minutes.
For longer rides, I use sports’ gels as my food energy source because they’re very easy to digest, have a high liquid content and they’re specially balanced. But if you prefer, you can eat sandwiches or whatever you want.
I just like gel packs because they’re handy and I don’t need to worry about getting the key elements my body needs. Most endurance athletes choose sports’ gels because they’re scientifically formulated to maintain glucose levels longer and give you the amino acids and other stuff that help your muscles recover faster.
After a ride
Straight after a tough ride, keep drinking plenty of water to complete the process of staying hydrated. And within about 45 minutes you need to have some form of sugar/carbs. This can be pasta or a sports’ recovery drink.
If you follow these guidelines, you’ll keep your body in top form to enjoy this great sport!
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