Proper hydration is key to your optimal cycling performance, as all bodily functions depend on good hydration. Sweating out as little as 2% of your body weight reduces your body’s ability to pump blood and cool itself!
Dehydration is a serious problem for us as cyclists, especially when temperatures & humidity rise. On those hot days that critical 2% can be lost in less than an hour! For safety and optimal performance, we need a balance of fluid, energy and electrolytes before, during and even after exercise.
Staying hydrated is a big and coordinated effort of your stomach, intestines and circulatory system.
Stomach: The stomach’s job is to prepare food and fluids for the intestines where absorption into the blood takes place. It adjusts the saltiness of food to match that of the intestines and blood, to speed absorption. Sport drinks are isotonic, which means that they are formulated at just the right saltiness so they move more quickly to the intestines.
Bottom line: Isotonic drinks move faster through the stomach than water alone.
Intestines: Fluids, food, electrolytes and energy molecules have to pass through the intestinal wall to reach the blood stream. The key constituents of sport drinks are designed at the molecular level to move more easily and quickly through the intestinal wall.
Bottom line: Sport drinks accelerate the passage of energy, select nutrients and water.
Circulatory System: The blood stream transports oxygen, fluid and fuel to the muscles then moves metabolic wastes and heat away. To work it needs fluid and salts, and isotonic sport drinks supply them and more.
Bottom line: By providing fluid, energy molecules and some salts isotonic sport drinks support the circulatory system and exercise performance.
Skin: The skin protects us, on cold and hot days. During hard exercise and exercise in the heat, your body loses necessary moisture and blood salt levels rise.
Bottom line: Sport drinks replace water and help to balance critical salt levels in the blood.
Kidneys: The kidneys function to maintain blood volume and saltiness, but during exercise, blood flow is diverted to muscles, heart and skin and so the kidneys are basically off line. After exercise the kidneys work to normalize blood fluid volume and saltiness.
Bottom line: Drinking sport drinks right after exercise can speed recovery from exercise.
Bottom Line Overall: To stay hydrated during the hottest days and hardest workouts, you need a sports drink made up of water, energy (from carbohydrates), and electrolytes (salts).
All of the sport drinks we carry feature a blend of these important nutrients, but, as always, if you have questions about any cycling nutrition & hydration products (or anything else we carry), give our in-house Spin Doctor Technical Support team a call at 800 553-8324 (TECH), or send your email question to firstname.lastname@example.org. They’re ready to answer your questions and offer advice 5 days a week.