How Pro Cyclists Stay Hydrated
During long stage races or high temps, pro cyclists can sweat as much as 2 to 4 liters per hour, requiring them to consume anywhere from 10 to 20 liters of fluid per day depending upon the weather and race length.
The easiest way to keep track of your sweat rate is to simply weigh yourself before and after exercise (assuming you didn’t stop for a “nature break”). One liter of sweat loss is equal to 1 kilogram or 2.2 lbs of weight. The average pro cyclist will lose between 2 to 4% of their body weight during a single stage despite drinking 1 to 2 liters per hour.
Everyone knows they sweat a lot during exercise. But water alone isn’t enough to rehydrate. A hard-working cyclist can sweat as much as 2 to 4 liters per hour. All that sweat takes sodium with it, as much as 400 to 800 mg per liter. A sports drink with sodium is the best way to replace lost electrolytes to avoid performance declines or serious illness.
How much sodium do you need during a ride? It’s hard to know because everyone sweats a different rates and loses different amounts of sodium. In general, rehydrating with 300 mg of sodium per half liter of water is about right.
Not only is sodium a key electrolyte for maintaining the proper function of every cell in our body, sodium when paired with a little bit of sugar or glucose can actually accelerate the transport of water across the small intestine. Again, sports drinks are better than water!
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The Feed Zone Cookbook includes 150 everyday recipes for athletes. Each breakfast, lunch, and dinner recipe is simple, delicious, and easy to prepare.
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The Feed Zone Cookbook and Feed Zone Portables are published by VeloPress, the leading publisher of books on cycling, triathlon, and running. Please see more VeloPress nutrition books at velopress.com/category/nutrition-and-diet