How To Fuel Your Rides

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Proper liquids to keep you hydrated and energized for action.

Ride more, sweat more. The longer this keeps up, the more your blood volume decreases, making it more difficult for your heart to deliver oxygen to your working muscles.

Not having a sip while exercising is a sure way to dehydration. Dehydration causes not only discomfort but also affects your performance, slowing you down. Toss some palatable drink during your rides and fight fatigue. Go by the rule of thumb — follow your thirst.

While H2O is adequate, sports drinks offer you several advantages, like replacing electrolytes and other minerals in sweat loss. Not only they rehydrate your body, they also prolong your exercise with an extra energy source in the form of carbohydrates.

In this article, we will guide you on drinks that will keep your energy up without stopping your cycling momentum. Power up, avoid “hitting the wall”, and take your ride straight to the finish line while staying cool and energized.

Drink: Water

  • Nothing beats good ol’ plain water. It is suggested that you drink 2-4 ounces every 15-20 minutes. The shorter you ride, the less you drink. The key is to quench your thirst to avoid overdrinking.

When: During short rides, every 30-45 minutes. On longer rides, combine it with carbs for energy.

Note: Pure maple water is the new coconut water—with less sugar. It’s actual sap from trees that is boiled down into syrup. It’s filled with natural electrolytes and vitamins.

Drink: Electrolyte Mix

  • They come in tablets or powder form consumed with water for flavor and electrolytes (Na, K, Mg, Ca) without carbs. It makes water more appealing and helps with fluid balance and absorption.

When: Anytime you feel the need of flavor in your water or electrolytes for your ride.

Note: If your sweat is salty, consume tablet with a sports drink for a longer workout.

Drink: Low-/No- Calorie Sports Drinks

  • Though usually artificially sweetened, they supply you with vitamins and some electrolytes, without the unwanted calories. It may not provide you with sufficient energy for long rides, however, it gives you the carbs to boost your mood and energy for short rides.

When: Sipping during the day and for rides less than an hour.

Note: A good drink for riders looking out for their calorie consumption.

Drink: Sports Drinks

  • Not only do these keep you hydrated, they also boost your performance, supplying you with 50 calories for every eight ounces of consumption. It is recommended that you consume 16-32 ounces of energy drink for your hour-long workout.

When: For hour-or-more rides.

Note: It powers your muscles to keep you going, especially for speed workouts, which quickly use up stored energy.

Drink: Endurance Sports Drinks

  • They supply you with more electrolytes and carbs than the traditional sports drinks. It contains more than one type of carbs, such as fructose and glucose, helping the GI tract absorb more carbs to fuel your working muscles with a greater amount of energy and boost your endurance.

When: When you are doing long-distance rides or high-intensity training.

Note: The more salty drinks consumed, the less urine is produced, and fewer electrolytes are lost.

Drink: Recovery Drinks, Protein Shakes, Chocolate Milk, Smoothies

  • Proteins combined with carbs increase glycogen storage in muscles and reduce the amount of muscle damage after a workout.

When: Post-ride.

Note: Choose drinks that contain about half a gram of carbs and about 0.2 grams of protein per pound of body weight.

Drink: Caffeine-Enhanced Sports Drinks

  • A perfect pick-me-up drink for riders who are feeling sluggish before race day or workouts. It lowers rates of perceived exertion during two-hour riding sessions and helps to push harder till the end.

When: Pre-ride/Race day.

Note: Consume during training sessions for the body to adapt when taken on race day.

Drink: Vegetable Juice

  • A cup of pure vegetable juice is the equivalent of two servings of vegetables. Juices containing tomatoes have high lycopene, which is an antioxidant that protects muscles from oxidative stress caused by exercise. It also contains three-five times the sodium content in sports drinks.

When: Post-ride.

Note: Sodium levels can range from 140 to 620 milligrams in regular (non–low sodium) brands. Choose higher levels if you crave for salt post-ride.

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