As the weather warms up we are all grateful to be shedding the extra layers of clothes and overshoes! But keeping on top of your hydration as the demands for fluids increase is essential to maximizing your performance when riding and looking after your health.

Written By

Ted Munson

60 minutes

How does the body keeps itself cool?

As we exercise, our increased muscle activity causes our body temperature to rise. Our bodies do not tolerate large changes in our core temperature very well, and we have developed sweating as a very sophisticated mechanism to keep ourselves cool.

As we sweat, the fluid takes heat away from the skin as it evaporates. This cools the blood flow close to the skin, which helps to keep the core cool as the blood returns to the vital organs as it circulates around the body. Over time this fluid loss will limit our ability to control our body temperature and our exercise performance if we don’t replace it.

What is the Risk?

A 2-3% drop in body mass through sweating is enough to decrease performance. As we become dehydrated, sweat loss causes a decrease in blood plasma volume, reducing the volume of blood. Blood flow to the skin is then reduced to maintain the supply to the brain, organs and working muscles. This causes a rise in core temperature, leading to fatigue. As blood volume drops, stroke volume (the amount of blood your heart pumps per beat) is also reduced. This leads to an increase in heart rate to maintain oxygen supply at the same work rate, limiting the capacity to increase intensity.

What can you do?

Your hydration strategy needs to go further than just water. Your body is always striving to keep everything in balance, including the balance of electrolytes and sugars in the fluid around your cells. As a general rule, make sure that your urine is straw-coloured before you start exercising. This is an indication that you are hydrated!

Avoid drinking large volumes of water: This stimulates your kidneys to try and get rid of excess water to keep the balance of electrolytes the same in your blood stream, which is the opposite of what you are aiming to do!

Electrolytes and carbohydrate: By taking on fluid with electrolytes, particularly sodium, the fluid you are taking on is better retained. Drinks made up of 6-8% carbohydrate also assist in maximising the fluid absorption as no concentration gradient is created.

Work out your sweat rate: The amount you need to drink varies widely according to the temperature, humidity and your own sweat rate. You must try your hydration strategies in training before competition to finely tune them. Try weighing yourself pre and post training. The difference is what you have lost through sweating, which could be anything from 500-1000ml of fluid per hour.

GO Electrolyte provides you with balanced key electrolytes and carbohydrates to help you maintain fluid balance and deliver energy, allowing you to regulate your core body temperature and exercise safely and effectively. GO Hydro has a similar electrolyte formulation, but does not contain additional carbohydrates. This maybe useful for shorter sessions of an hour or less which do not have the same energy requirement.

Written By
Ted Munson
Ted Munson
Supplying world-class knowledge, elite insights, and product recommendations to provide optimal performance solutions for all athletes across a wide variety of endurance sports.
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