Sweating is inevitable while cycling. Sometimes you may hate it. However, if you want to lose weight by cycling, you may be very happy to sweat. Because it means burning your fat. But sweating can take away some trace elements from our body. It can also cause dehydration due to excessive sweating. In one of my previous posts, I have talked about how to reduce sweat as much as possible. So next, I will tell you the effective ways to keep well-hydrated while cycling. Five quick ways are as follows.
Drink adequate water
Replenish enough water in time is the first step. Generally speaking, a person needs to take in water of 2000cc every day. It needs more on a cycling day. You should drink 4-8 oz of liquid every 15 minutes. But this depends on your sweat rate. For most people, the amount of drinking water adds up to about one full bottle per hour(more on a hot and humid day). This can ensure a successful ride for you.
If over-sweating, it will lead to dehydration, which will have a dramatic, negative effect on cycling performance. For example, dehydration of only 2% of your total body weight can do harm to performance. Dehydration of 5% even can reduce work output by as much as 10%. How terrible it is! Prepare two full bottles on every ride, especially on a hot day. If you are riding more than an hour at high temperature, consider using a hydration system. There are two purposes. Firstly, it can serve you to carry a large volume of liquid. Secondly, your body temperature may rise because of exercising. The hydration pack can help you cool your core temperature by freezing the water(or filling it with ice). But remember, it is crucial to practice using the hydration pack prior to an important event or competition. It is a bit cumbersome.
Keep the same weight before the workout and after recovery
Before starting riding, weigh yourself and remember the number. After every workout, and weigh yourself again. Comparing the two numbers, and keep the same. There are two purposes. First, it helps you to decide your sweat rate. The an-hour workout is a good indicator. If you weigh two pounds less after the workout, you will be down about 32 ounces of water. Second, it decides how much liquid you need to drink per hour. Frankly speaking, not everyone will take in so much water before and immediately after your workouts. But remember, weigh the same before and after. And after your workout, replenish hydration and nutrition as you did before the one.
Take in sports drinks if necessary
If your workouts last an hour or less, water is sufficient. But for endurance exercise which lasts over an hour, take in sports drinks to replace carbohydrates and electrolytes. Actually, there are many to choose from in shops and most of them work effectively. Before buying, make sure that they contain about 6% to 8% carbohydrates and some sodium for electrolytes replacement. To decide which drinks work best, you need to choose three and try one in a similar type of workout or event. First things first, make sure that if any of these drinks may lead to gastrointestinal distress. If one of them does, eliminate it(Ps: drinks with more than 8% carbohydrates may be more likely to cause stomach distress). On top of that, the taste may be considered. If it tastes good, you are more likely to buy it.
Drink before thirsty
Don't drink water until you get thirsty. This is totally wrong. Drink before thirsty while cycling. Sip on the water and electrolyte drinks on a hot day. In effect, drinking around 1.25 to 1.5 litres of liquid an hour is necessary while cycling on very hot days. But this also depends on every person. Everyone is unique. So someone may need less water, while someone might be not enough. The best way to reduce the chance of dehydration is to start to keep your liquid up early in the day.
But on cold days, try to avoid consuming large amounts of liquid in the morning before riding. This is because your body wants to reduce the supply of blood going around. It will do this by making you go to the toilet to get rid of excess liquid. If you consume lots of water before riding on cold days, it will not be long before you want to relieve yourself.
Make a personalised hydration plan
Just as everyone has a personalised nutrition plan in diet, it is equally important to have a personalised hydration plan while cycling. This plan should take into account your sweat rate, duration of event, intensity and conditions of the day.
I usually heard, "you have to drink 2 bottles an hour!" That is exactly what I needed on some days, while on other days, I felt all the water sloshing around my stomach. Finding your water loss rate in different conditions gives you a much better idea of how much water and sports drink you are actually in need. A hydration plan aims at minimising fluid loss to less than 2% of total body weight.
These five tips on hydration are of great help for you, I hope. Remember, before riding, make a hydration plan first, and then drink before thirsty. Replenish enough water or sports drinks if necessary. Put them into practice, and wish you become an excellent cyclist.