Hydration for Endurance: Cycling
It can be challenging to get enough fluids when you race. Road cyclists can only carry two water bottles and can only get additional fluids at special “feed zones” along the course. In road cycling taking one hand off the bike to drink can lead to disaster! Even so, you need to be sure to drink enough.
Below are some common factors that influence sweat losses:
- Duration and intensity
- Environment condition
- Type of clothing
- Body weight
- Genetic predisposition
- Heat acclimatization state
- Metabolic efficiency
How to Hydrate: Pre/During/Post Exercise
- Pre-exercise: Two hours before cycling you should consume between 14 to 22 ounces of fluid.
Consume 6 to 12 oz every 15-20 minutes, depending on calculated sweat
rate (explained below). You should consume an average of 1 gram of
sodium per hour.
- Post-exercise: Drink 16 to 24 ounces for
every pound lost during exercise. You should incorporate beverages and
snacks that contain sodium.
- If competing in a hot and humid environment, use extra sodium.
- Consume higher sodium foods 1 or 2 days before long rides.
- Drink fluids that contain sodium. (i.e. sports drinks) during and after exercise.
Calculating your Fluid Needs
everyone needs the same amount of fluids. One size does NOT fit all.
Figure out your sweat rate so you can create a fluid plan that meets
Guidelines for calculating your fluid needs:
Your weight before exercise minus your weight after exercise = pounds lost through insensible losses and sweat
Weighing before exercise:
- No clothing
- Do not drink any water after weighing. (Note: It is ok to drink water before you weigh)
- Do not urinate after weighing
Then go and perform 1 hour of vigorous exercise. DO NOT drink any water or urinate while training for this hour.
Weighing after exercise:
For every pound lost you must consume 16 oz of fluid.
- No clothing
- Do not drink any water before weighing
- Do not urinate before weighing
A person’s weight was 160 pounds before exercise and trains for one
hour. After training the scale shows their weight to be 158 pounds.
Since 2 pounds were lost and you must consume 16 oz for every pound,
this person must consume 32 ounces of fluid per hour of riding.