Hydrating your body while cycling is a tricky business. If you believe that the obvious answer to a cyclist’s hydrating concerns can be curbed by consuming gallons of water, sorry to burst your bubble, it can’t! And if you assume sports drink to be its perfect alternative, it’s not how that works either.
Let’s break it down and understand why it’s a puzzling decision to make the right pick among the two popular drinks consumed when you hit the roads as a beginner or a professional cyclist for that matter!
What Happens When You Ride Your Bicycle at A Slow Pace?
When you paddle rigorously at a stretch, your body temperature rises and your cycling performance takes a dip. This leads your body to cool down for a while causing it to use fewer fluids that make you perform much more efficiently.
What Happens When You Ride Your Bicycle with High-Intensity?
If you do not wish to go slow and continue with the high-intensity workouts, your body loses a lot of water and salt which gets released in the form of sweat. In this process, you also lose electrolytes (loss of sodium) even through respiration, which is the additional fuel that keeps you going for long when you are working out.
All the lost needs to be bought back before, during, and even after a heavy cycling session.
Spoke Herd brings to you the when and why you should consume either water or sports drink without hurting your body:
1. What to Drink Before the Ride?
Make sure to hydrate yourself well (with water) before you even hop on that bicycle of yours and get going. Consume as much water as you can as it will help your body stay fueled and refreshing throughout the ride.
Also, make sure to load your bellies with water at least 4-6 hours prior to when you plan to begin your cycling session. If you end up consuming too much water right before you head out, it can make you feel bloated and cause irritation throughout the ride.
2. What to Drink During the Ride?
The general rule of thumb is, if you wish to keep your cycling session shorter that lasts about an hour or less than that, water works more than just fine. However, if you plan anything beyond an hour, sports drinks with low calories help you gain back all the necessary elements you lose when you cycle rigorously.
You should ideally sip water every 15 minutes if you want to finish the spinning before or in an hour. You can also replace plain boring water with coconut water for better fueling and an even better taste.
But consider switching to a high sports drink that is rich in carbs and rich in electrolyte count if the workout exceeds an hour. Instead of consuming the entire drink in the first go, take it slow and keep sipping in proper intervals. This will help your muscles gain back the energy that gets lost when you work with great intensity.
3. What to Drink After the Ride?
Now when you come back from your cycling workout, hydration still needs to be given priority. Now is the hydration you require for healing your sore body and muscles.
Consume a drink that regains all your lost sodium without making you feel tight and tense. Drinks that are high in electrolytes are – coconut water, watermelon drink, smoothies, any fruit juice, protein drinks for cyclists, Pedialyte, and so on.
All of these drinks will help you restore your carbs level which goes down while you are on the bike, repair your muscles with the intake of protein-filled drinks or shakes and lastly put a stop to the nutrients which you shed throughout your cycling journey.
Now that you are aware of how to go about hydrating your body right when cycling, be kind to your body. Hydration is important but at the same time infusing it with appropriate nutrients and minerals also becomes a vital part of your day-to-day routine as a cyclist, so choose wisely.