Two Simple Tips to Help You Stay Hydrated and Avoid Cramps

Jun 19, 2013 at 21:00
Jun 19, 2013
by James Wilson  
 
You must login to Pinkbike.
Don't have an account? Sign up

Join Pinkbike  Login

Having a muscle cramp up on you in the middle of a ride sucks. And it hurts. But mostly it sucks as you have to stop and hope that it goes away long enough to let you ride out.

You can't come into a ride in a chronically dehydrated state and expect to perform consistently.

It sucks even more if you're out in the middle of nowhere with no idea exactly how far away you are from civilization and only half a bottle of water left. Which is exactly what happened to me on my first mountain bike ride.

Now, at the time I didn't really think of it as mountain biking. I was just riding my old Nishiki Bravo fully rigid bike around some old jeep roads when visiting my grandparents in Oklahoma. While I had only used the bike to commute around town, one day I was bored and decided go pedal around the woods. Long story short, I was grossly under-prepared for the summer heat and how much I was going to sweat. ]I found myself severely dehydrated and suffering from the worst quad cramps ever – I literally couldn't get them to bend and they hurt like hell. Luckily, I had half my bottle of water left and drinking it got my quads to relax. I was able to get moving again. I wasn't sure what I was going to do if I cramped like that again with no more water left but luckily I found a short cut back to my grandparents house and didn't have to find out.

When I got into mountain biking for real a few years later I remembered that episode and swore I'd never let it happen again. This is why I take my hydration pretty seriously. More than just cramps...

Even if you don't suffer from cramping, if you allow yourself to get dehydrated you'll hurt your performance. For example, a loss of only 2% body weight causes a reduction in performance by 10% or more. [A fluid loss exceeding 3-5% body weight reduces performance by up to 30% while also impairing reaction time, judgment, concentration and decision making – not good things to start losing in the middle of a hard ride.A quick search on Google will reveal more nasty results from even minor dehydration. If you want to learn even more about the effects of dehydration check out this more in depth article. Either way, hopefully you're starting to see why staying hydrated is so important.

How much water should you drink?


So now the obvious question becomes how much water should you drink?
You'll get a lot of different answers to this one, ranging from the standard 8 glasses of water a day to a gallon or more. Believe it or not there isn't a really solid answer to that question. I personally shoot for 2 liters of water a day, which is a little more than 8 glasses but not as much as a gallon. On the days I sweat a lot from riding or training I will drink more water but don't really track how much more, I just try to avoid getting thirsty. I don't count what water I drink during riding/ training towards my 2 liter goal, it is just used to replace what I sweated out.

While I've always been pretty good about my hydration I've recently started doing two things to help me be more consistent with it and improve my results from it.

Two simple hydration tips...

First, I bought myself a 2 liter container that I fill up each morning and put in the fridge. I know that by the end of the day I have to have at least drank that container. It gives me a brainless way to keep track of it instead of trying to count how many times I've refilled my water bottle.
Second, I've started adding 1 pinch of unrefined sea salt per liter of water. Adding a pinch of unrefined sea salt is supposed to help your body better absorb and utilize the water you drink. This means you pee less of it out so you can get more out of the water you do drink.

Obviously the sea salt advice doesn't apply to riders who still look at fast food as a food group. They need to work on cutting out sodium from their diets and adding more may not be the best idea. Adding a pinch of unrefined sea salt to your water while you're pounding down a Big Mac and fries is missing the point.

But for those of us that have our diet under control then this is something I'd suggest checking out. You can get unrefined sea salt at any natural foods store and it is pretty cheap. Just make sure you get unrefined sea salt – which contains 50-70+ minerals and trace minerals – and not plain table salt, which is just plain sodium chloride.

Hydration matters more in the heat.

If you're one of the many riders dealing with cramping as the weather heats up then make sure you are drinking at least 2 liters of water per day (more on the days you ride) and add a pinch of unrefined sea salt to each liter of water you drink. You can't come into a ride in a chronically dehydrated state and expect to perform consistently. Also, make sure you drink plenty of water on the trail and don't lose too much sweat before you start drinking to replace it. Have a re-hydration strategy when you ride and don't just wait until you get thirsty. Once the effects of dehydration have set in you'll have to work even harder to maintain the same pace, making early hydration critical to late ride performance.

Making sure you have your basic hydration needs down is the first step to being a consistent performer on the trail. Plus, it is one of the easiest things you can do to improve your performance. Try these two simple tips and if you have any that you've found helpful please post a comment sharing them, I'd love to hear it.

-James Wilson-

MTB Strength Training Systems is the world leader in integrated performance training programs for the unique demands of mountain biking. As the strength and conditioning coach for World Cup Teams and 3 National Championships, his programs have been proven at the highest levels. James has helped thousands of riders just like you improve their speed, endurance and skills on the trail. Visit www.bikejames.com to sign up for the free Trail Rider Fundamentals Video Mini-Course.

The MTB Strength Training Systems Logo
Must Read This Week









197 Comments

  • + 13
 beer here...
  • + 38
 Power Thirst. Rocket can edition.
  • + 20
 who needs ''performance'' when you can have fun
  • + 4
 Doble o nada Wink ...Volldamm!!
  • + 20
 If you perform well you enjoy the ride/have fun, if you perform poorly you Don't simple as that
  • + 5
 Totally in for the beer.
  • + 7
 i must admit honestly.. i do carry a 500cc water bottle with me in my backpack.. next to 3 cans of beer. . on longer rides..
  • + 9
 Beer is 85% water.
  • + 5
 As an XC rider one thing I learned real quick was that those 8 glasses of water a day really work... It's funny to see people drinking a lot of water right before the ride, not knowing that drinking large amounts of water in a short period of time can result in water intoxication and etc, etc... By the way, Beer is great right after the ride, I'd say it's an even better feeling than eating...
  • + 3
 it's always beer:30 somewhere!
  • + 0
 several bottles of water before and during a ride and a couple longnecks of yuengling after, the perfect formula
  • + 1
 this east coast boys got it figured out.
  • + 3
 The alcohol in beer can actually dehydrate you, so don't use it instead of water!
  • + 2
 its called practice Wink just keep on drinking.. i chucked a six pack away, while riding fr/dh last weekend
the dehydration factor. maybe a bit.. and only with strong stuff..
  • + 2
 Drinking while going DH must be a pleasure, since you're hardly pedaling. Try that pedaling uphill now, you'll provably faint before making it to the top...
  • + 2
 I've heard that some people shotgun a beer before bombing a dh run to calm their nerves... makes sense I guess
[Reply]
  • + 32
 The sea salt isn't to help you absorb water better, its's to replace the electrolytes your body loses when it sweats. You can drink 10 gallons of plain water, and it wont re-hydrate you, it'll flush all the electrolytes out of your system, which is bad.
  • + 27
 The flushing thing is true, you just piss all the electrolytes out, but eating salt increases water retention. Fact
  • + 3
 So true! At times I can drink 9 litres a day just cause I like water. I should probably try keep it to 3 or 4 tho but I've never really suffered from dehydration or felt the need to carry water unless doing xc rides during the middle of the day during summer. What freaks me out is the people who never drink water on its own!
  • + 4
 To help you hydrate, you can add more than just unrefined salt, quote from our favorite source "For example, muscle contraction is dependent upon the presence of calcium (Ca2+), sodium (Na+), and potassium (K+). "
  • + 2
 ...and that's why Gatorade was invented - to help replenish those electrolytes that are just being washed out by drinking pure water. So while I agree that water is generally better for you than sports drinks, there is good reason to drink an electrolyte enhanced 'sports drink' from time to time.
  • + 35
 Brawndo - It's What Plants Crave!
  • + 1
 Isnt that n-p-k?
  • + 4
 Couple people died while the medical community was figuring this out. One woman won a car for drinking the most water and died in the process.
  • + 2
 I have my own special potion I use when I start sweating bullets. Half Gatorade, half clear electrolite fluid( like Pediasure for babies). I call it "go-all-day juice".
  • + 0
 Oh god don't ever drink Gatorade.. water with Perpetuem is the best way to keep yourself hydrated and from cramping on long rides.
  • + 2
 But Gatorade tastes so much better than plain boring water.
  • + 37
 I ride with super models and we just lick the electrolytes of each other when we get sweaty.
  • + 8
 I had to read that twice.
  • + 2
 But why do they crave electrolytes? Do you even know what electrolytes are?
  • + 2
 They are the salts (sodium and potassium) your nerves use to send messages (change polarization). For the models the electrolytes are just an added bonus.
  • + 3
 Why the F*ck not? Tastes great, electrolytes, and a F*CKING LIGHTNING BOLT ON THE BOTTLE!
[Reply]
  • + 23
 1) Sweating = 80% of the body's heat dissipation when exercising.
2) 1 litre of sweat = sodium 1.15g, calcium 0.02g, magnesium 0.05g, chloride 1.25g and potassium 0.23g
3) Rehydrating with pure water dilutes the concentrations of these electrolytes.
4) Electrolytes will aid absorption of fluid and glucose in the intestines.
5) Sodium is one of the main electrolytes lost in sweat but an individual will unlikely be sodium depleted whilst riding, sodium increases the sensation of thirst increasing voluntary fluid intake promoting hydration.
6) Blood is largely made up from water so increased sweat rate = increased blood viscosity = lower stroke volume = increased heart rate = increased cardiac strain so... Increased dehydration = decreased performance.
7) Acclimation and fitness = less dehydration through more efficient sweating.
8 ) Individuals sweat rate can vary on the individual, the environment and the intensity of the activity aim to match sweat rate with fluid intake. Nude body mass pre and post exercise - fluid consumed during will give an accurate indication of sweat rate and how much fluid to intake to achieve a rehydrated state and future reference for similar exercise bouts.
9) Cramping is the failure of a muscular contraction to relax, this is due to numerous factors effecting the delivery and transport of certain electrolytes into the muscle cells (in very simple terms).
10) Cramping is mainly caused through poor diets lacking in minerals such as zinc and iron rather than specific fluid intake during a ride.
11) It is important to be hydrated before, remain hydrated during and hydrate post exercise to aid reabsorption of glucose and recovery.
12) A Big Mac is not a balanced meal whoever said that!
  • + 4
 Wow this is way more informative than this cute lil story!
May I add that sea salt is sodium. One needs a balance of sodium and potassium. Its too easy to have too much salt in your diet.
Cramping is caused by a poor diet. That would explain why I have never experienced cramps during a ride.
Water is not some magical cure. It is one of many requirments our body needs to function properly.
I don't eat McDonalds (food?)
  • + 8
 I ate a McDonalds once. I was crapping bricks for a week. Also the fry machine gave me nasty heart burn.
  • - 1
 I had to read that twice.
  • + 3
 I am sure blood is made up of far more important things than water that come into effect. (100% sure)
It is scary what a haematologist can tell you, just by analysing your blood.
  • + 4
 Magic schoolbus says red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. Most of the vitamins and minerals too since it is how they get around. Also i'd guess hormones but i don't know.
  • + 0
 betsie you drink no water you drain the salad bar you scotch camel
  • + 2
 I love the magic school bus approach, would be ace if that was all we had to consider for diabetes. H-monster... you know the score, I am solar and wind powered when out on the mountains.
[Reply]
  • + 19
 I've always thought that if your pee was yellow, you're doing it wrong.
  • + 0
 You are right , but your pee can be yellow for few other reasons food ,natural vitamin tablets, herbs ...can make your pee yellow
[Reply]
  • + 15
 I usually drink a 6 pack of beer while riding and I get steezier with each sip. True story.
[Reply]
  • + 13
 Basically don't just drink before a ride. Drink all day.
  • + 7
 Yes Connor because you take your fitness pretty seriously hahaha
  • + 1
 all day is key. Drinking 1 liter in 5 minutes isn't going to do you any good either, it will actually make things worse. Optimum is 8oz every 15 to 20 minutes.
[Reply]
  • + 8
 Great advice! Here in Japan many riders dont take hydration too seriously and think if they drink a sports drink they will be good. I try to tell them the sports drink is great for when we are resting or after your ride, however while riding you should drink pure water. Now the humidity is heavy and the temperatures are hot its even more important. I usually drink a litter every morning easily from the time I wake up to before work. Then, I will drink 1-2 liters easily though out the day, then I try to drink 500ml to 1 liter before bed everyday. I drink 3-4 cups of coffee during the day too so you must double the amount of coffee you drank with water to replenish your system. Then when riding, I always fill my hydration pack with 2 litters which is not enough in summer. Even on short ride extra water can always be useful.
  • + 35
 Thats cool.
  • + 2
 Seems a bit excessive unless you ride in the really hot and humid aera of Japan. Check for diabetes.
  • + 2
 To help you hydrate, you can add more than just unrefined salt, quote from our favorite source "For example, muscle contraction is dependent upon the presence of calcium (Ca2+), sodium (Na+), and potassium (K+). "
  • + 1
 I live in S.Korea niko. and I am in the same boat as you. Dam its hot today!
  • + 2
 Yes, its super humid today as we are having a typhoon heading our way.

Richie Im sure he temperature is close to here in japan!
What do you do in Korea?


Wakaba, Im just a normal person however I was saying you need to hydrate your body and the article had some great ideas.
Today I went though 5 liters of water with no problem.
However Im sweating like crazy.
I teach English here in Japan have 7-9 classes a day.
So, Im talking, explaining and using tons of energy.
ahahhahahhaah

Maybe I have diabetes but, Im pretty sure Im healthy at the moment, ahahhahahha

What exactly seemed odd to you about my first comment?
[Reply]
  • + 9
 Dihydrogen monoxide is dangerous is certain quantities.
This odor-less clear toxin can be found everywhere; including our houses, playgrounds, mtb trails, and even our oceans!
  • + 0
 I see what you did there...
[Reply]
  • + 9
 Burgers are unhealthy?? Dam that's why I'm 250lbs my mom told me it was salad that was evil
[Reply]
  • + 4
 Thank you James for bringing this important topic to Pinkbike. I would add that if you are riding for two or more hours you really need to drink something other than plain water. If you find you are losing energy on long rides it may actually be electrolytes and not calories that you are lacking. I was once given a salt tablet when I had bonked and fifteen minutes later I was back up the front of the pack. I used to load my CamelBack with ice until some MTBers who work in the science of nutrition absorption told me that water is not absorbed in the intestines until it gets up to body temperature. Sitting around drinking cold water is fine, but when hydration matters out on the trail, ambient temperature water is best.
[Reply]
  • + 4
 This story is right up my alley. i suffered from kidney stones ( and still do ) dur to dehydration. My urologist told me you have to drink minimum 2 litres a day, it the summer, especially australian summer, 3 litres.

the best way to to know when your hydrated is the colour of your urine, if its clear your hydrated and if its yellow, your dehydrated.

I tell you what, you definitely drink shit loads of water after knowing what you have to go through in post operation recovery, don't wish it on my worst enemy!

SO DRINK UP BOYS AND GIRLS.
  • + 1
 The same thing happened to me. It's all fun and games until you're in the emergency room and forced to stay overnight for emergency surgery the next day to pulverize a large stone stuck in your ureter. It takes several weeks for the soreness to fade and even longer for core strength to recover... and then try buying bike parts when you're in debt with medical bills!
I didn't drink enough water for how much I sweat. If you're even mildly dehydrated and training or riding hard, minerals in your system and protein from supplements or broken down muscles collect there and harden. Our bodies are designed to flush that out, but if you ride frequently in a state of dehydration then your kidneys become a time bomb just waiting for a rough ride or hard sprint to throw one out and send you to the floor crying and rocking in fetal position (it feels like your junk is stuck in a vice while you're being sawed in half).
It's very hot here. So, even if I don't ride daily, I still drink 3-4 liters of water s day. From that type of hydration foundation, performance supplements, drinks, and vitamins can make their way around your body without collecting in your system.
Also, I found that I can ride so much further by simply carrying and drinking more water before an during rides.

Phillywa, do you have your kidneys under control now?
  • + 1
 Wow, fortunately for me it never came to that, ive heard that a stone obstructing the ureter is an absolute pain. Drinking not enough was my problem as well, my major liquid intake was coffee which dehydrates ya, also, i used to go to the gym quite alot and i was smashing down the protein shakes AAAND since im a bachelor i ate heaps of junk food which has high salt content. So really, i was doomed from the start LMAO. I still have stones, but since i drink heaps, they are not growing. My largest stone at the moment is 4mm which has been like that for about a year. I get myself checked out every year now, straight after the hot summer pretty much
  • + 1
 Cool deal man. I hope they stay put!
[Reply]
  • + 3
 Lots of very shaky advice in this article. Adding salt is "supposed" to do something. When you're dolling out advice with the word "supposed" to justify what you're saying, you're probably talking out your arse. This is just a bunch of old wives tales without anything to back any of it up.
  • + 0
 It true, though. If you are expending energy and depleting your body of the sodium and potassium in needs, muscles contract but don't release. This leads to horrific cramps and increases the likelihood of muscle pulls and tears.
  • + 1
 Yeah if you don't already have sufficient sodium and potassium. I don't know about you, but I'm not at the athletic level that I need to worry about that, and neither are most people on here. It'll only make a difference to a handful of high level athletes, in the same way that shaving a gram or two of the weight of a bike will only make a difference to elite WC racers. I just can't stand pseudo-scientific nonsense and there's a lot of it going around these days.
  • + 0
 Because of kidney stones, I've had to do several tests and I was shocked by how delicately balanced the urological system can is and how it affects muscle performance. You'd be surprised how quickly a weekend of hot riding can drain you. Our bodies don't store large amounts of those minerals. You probably don't need salt in your water, but a banana or Gatorade during and after hard rides wouldn't hurt anything.
  • + 2
 this advice is proven and tested among thousands of endurance athletes. You down hillers and enduro riders don't know what its like sitting in the saddle for 8 hours on a 90° day climbing 8,000 feet of elevation for a 100 miles!!!
  • + 2
 I agree to redrook, there are dozens of reasons for cramps and muscle spasms, while hydration may be an issue for some, it's often only a small part of a larger picture. There is also no scientific evidence for the daily consumption of water - 8 glasses / 2 liters is pseudoscience.

I agree more with some of the more educated comments that I do with the actual article, as the article contained little to no proven evidence and relied on hearsay and anecdotal stories. James should have gotten someone QUALIFIED in to talk about this and posted it as an interview, my opinion as an Exercise physiologist PhD.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Vw2CrY9Igs
  • + 2
 Thanks smuggly, you've no idea how much anecdotal justification for sweeping, unproven pseudoscience pisses me off.
[Reply]
  • + 3
 -James Wilson-
MTB Strength Training Systems is the world leader in integrated performance training programs for the unique demands of mountain biking. As the strength and conditioning coach for World Cup Teams and 3 National Championships, his programs have been proven at the highest levels. James has helped thousands of riders just like you improve their speed, endurance and skills on the trail.

> Has NO IDEA how hydration affects electrolyte levels, doesn't understand how the body absorbs minerals or water. lol.
[Reply]
  • + 3
 I'm the kind of person who loves water. It's all I drink, so naturally I drink a lot of it. Probably close to a gallon a day. Last year I easily drank ~ 1.2 gallons each day all the time. I make it a point to have a big cup after I wake up in the morning, and before bed at night. And this translates to riding. My 3 liter pack doesn't usually last on my longer rides so I'm thinking about adding a cage. I'll try the unrefined sea salt thing.
  • + 0
 Im the same as you!

I have never tried salt, because if you think about what you eat daily, Im very sure mostly everyone 90% of the population is actually eating and consuming too much salt if too little.

However now that summer is here, its a fun experiment.

I read an article recently saying a teaspoon of baking soda to half a gallon is very beneficial to overall health and post exercise as its helps with the break down of lactic acid in your muscles.

I too drink easily 4-5 liters a day if not more as Im actually taking track, ahhahahhahah
[Reply]
  • + 2
 2% body loss in form of water is *a lot*

For average 75kg person, that's 1.5l. Weight before and after a ride, and you will get a good estimate of your water loss
(Fat/glycogen loss are way more less so doesn't matter here).

I tend to be quite sensitive to water loss, but no cramps, it's gives me headache. Especially after hot long ride where I did not drank enough.
[Reply]
  • + 2
 a serving of gatorade powder can be stored in a plastic bag/small travel sized nalgene container (etc.) and mixed in your mouth using the water on your back then swallowed. a little gatorade and some water is more effective than carrying more water.
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Another great way to keep you body hydrated is drinking at least 500ml of water when you wake up every morning before you do anything. It will help your digestions system as well. I have been practicing this routine religiously and it has proven to keep me healthy and keep my body hydrated. Water is the source of LIFE!!!
  • + 1
 water is the river of life.
[Reply]
  • + 6
 electrolytes it's what plants crave!
[Reply]
  • + 2
 I attribute a significant portion of hydration demand to my level of physical fitness and have always believed in drinking water when I feel thirsty as opposed to slamming massive quantities down until my urine ran clear, etc. Definitely require more in the summer months when it is oppressively hot... probably not 2x as much but close I guess.

I've never been one to consume much water during a typical day where I'm not involved in a physical activity. I do drink two cups of coffee a day regardless of what I'm doing (endurance MTB race, sitting on my arse or whatever in between). I've been active my entire life. Played football/soccer for three decades and only drank water during the games... not an excessive amount; only what quenched my thirst.

I started cycling multiple times per week about 5 years ago and found that my water consumption went down dramatically after a year or so of weekly high exertion 2-3 hour rides (~15-16 MPH average speed on urban assault mountain bike rides). The only times I carry water on my back now are for all day rides or when it is near/below freezing outside (for a place to stow warmer clothing if I get hot and carry extras if it gets colder or precipitates).
  • + 1
 Yesterday I went on an 88 mile mixed surface ride- road, gravel and both dirt and rocky/technical trails (~5,800 ft of climb @ 90 degrees F). One of the riders was very concerned about hydration and consumed somewhere approaching 300 oz of water plus ~40oz of Gatorade and all sorts of food. Another rider ate 8-10 salt pills during the ride and consumed somewhere around 200+ oz of water. A third rider consumed 100oz 1/4th of the way into the ride and also refilled and drank 200-250 oz of water. All three of them cramped up badly ~2/3rds of the way into the ride.

I consumed quite a bit less water than the three of them (carried 100oz and drank probably 50 and donated the rest before we filled up). Total I drank maybe 150oz and another rider also consumed about the same- we both had zero cramping issues.

Also noteworthy: I did not consume cycling performance bars, goo, etc. as the others did. I had two orange shot blocks ~85% of the way through the ride and otherwise ate other items that I brought on the ride (peanut butter & jelly sandwich, 8 salted crackers, a couple of fruit snacks).
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Honestly I think there is a lot to be said for knowing your own levels. My wife, and one of my best friends drink almost nothing (as in 2 - 3 glasses a day) and they are both fit and never cramp. I drink plenty and I do cramp. I find that the electrolyte tablets work well (Hammer Fizz, Nuun etc) whereas gatorade powder seems to do nothing.
I honestly think a lot of people drink too much. 8 glasses of water a day if you sit on your ass at a desk, then on a couch watching TV is too much and you will just pee out vitamins and minerals that your body needs.
I don't think there is a magic formula, just try different things and get to know your own body's needs.
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Found this and thought I should share.
_________________________________________

What Causes Muscle Cramps

The exact cause of muscle cramps is still unknown, but the theories most commonly cited include:

Altered neuromuscular control
Dehydration
Electrolyte depletion
Poor conditioning
Muscle fatigue
Doing a new activity

sportsmedicine.about.com/od/legpainandinjuries/a/muscle_spasms.htm
  • + 1
 Those are all pretty general, but none offer a proximate cause.
My personal hypothesis is this:
Muscles contract and relax on a cellular level, with thousands of nerve impulses communicating when to do what. When some can relax others must continue contracting for balance etc.
Nerves use sodium channels to communicate those impulses. The solutes in our systems (such as sodium) are transported efficiently according to the level of our hydration so when you aren't drinking enough water and you don't have enough solutes you are inhibiting that communication system that tells your muscles what to do. The message may still get through, but not completely and not at the right time. The end result is muscles working out of sync. Some are told to contract when they shouldn't. Others never release. Your body then reacts with a flinch that tightens up more out of sync making an annoying problem worse.
One reason stretching helps is it distributes the tension and fluids in your muscles, making communication work a bit better.
All of this is based on what I remember from my neuro-anatomy class and helping my wife with her physical therapy homework. it may be wrong but it makes sense to me. If it makes sense to me chances are somebody else can fill in the gaps I don't know and clear up the rest.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Pedialyte powder. Best oral rehydration available. Works better than iv fluids (normal saline or lactated ringer) for people that can take oral fluids (anyone riding a bike.) Gatorade doesn't have enough sodium and has too much sugar.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 I take a 2 ltr bladder of water on m.t.b.rides, only use bottles for the road bike, latest thinking is milk is the best recovery drink as it aids muscle recovery. electrolytes are important and can be washed out of the the body by over comsumption of water, how do I know because it killed one of my work colege's.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Skratchlabs hydration mix for me. I've been using it for about one and half years with killer results. Most recently I raced a hot 8 hour mtb race cramp free with plenty of energy. Pineapples is my favorite flavor—tastes awesome and no artificial nastiness. Check it out at skratchlabs.com Dr. Allen Lim knows what's up when it comes to hydration and nutrition.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 when iam working (bike messenger) i drink 5 litres of pure water in 8 hours. but i also carry a smaller bottle with water+ magnesium+ salt+sugar. this works very fine for me but also with so much water its really hard not to dehydrate. but everybody has to find the right amount of water for themself you cannot generalize it. and of course i drink some beer after work . cheers
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Quasiscientific mumbojumbo with weak scientific evidence. ALL studies are financed by Nèstle, KRaft foods, coca cola, and others who make money from you buying their special blend of glucose and electrolytes.

I have absolutely no confidence in what some guy from world leading MTB Strength Training Systems tells me about hydration and dehydration, a false or scientifically weakly founded theory does not become less false or more founded by being repeated often, especially not by a sports consultant

So far, more people have died from overhydration (dilution of electrolytes) than dehydration in ultra endurance events, all thanks to the falsehoods told by companies who earn money on you buying their special blend.

> Has NO IDEA how hydration affects electrolyte levels, doesn't understand how the body absorbs minerals or water. lol.

www.bmj.com/about-bmj/article-clusters/truth-about-sports-drinks

Pinkbike, stop spreading false "truths" and myths.
  • + 1
 Did you actually read the article, or just the comments. The article doesn't mention sports drinks, not once. It does include a link to a brief article complete with numerous journal references. That article doesn't mention sports drinks either, just the scientifically observed effects of hydration level on exercise performance. Not being scientifically literate enough to read such articles, or perhaps just not literate, doesn't actually invalidate their content. Beyond that, all the original article actually says is that staying hydrated is important because being de-hydrated and trying to ride sucks. It also encourages you to do your own research on the topic and to develop a hydration plan for when you ride. Pretty controversial stuff. I tend to agree that sports drinks aren't actually much good for you. Gatorade for example was originally developed based on sound, scientifically considered principals. Then it turned into a business and they worked out people, not just athletes, would drink more of the stuff if they used lots of fructose instead of glucose. But again, the article doesn't tell you to go buy a gatorade. FFS, if people must rant can you please at least aim them at the actual offending parties rather than just giving everyone in sight a spray.
  • + 1
 I have a strange feeling someone watched "Corporation"...
[Reply]
  • + 1
 If you want to know how much you should drink on a ride just do this. Before your ride make sure you are hydrated enough that your urine is clear. Weigh yourself. Go ride. Weigh yourself after your ride. If you weigh the same, you drank enough. If you weigh less, you should have consumed more water.

Everyone is different. Some sweat like a bastard (like me), some don't sweat much at all.

if you are cramping during rides try different approaches to find out what works for YOU! Your body is one big chemical reaction, you just got to find the right balance.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 I always carry Mustard packs. When I get cramps I will eat a pack and drink some water with it and if I have any kind of gels like gatorade Gels, which work great aslong as you don't chew them , it gets me through the ride. Give it a try but I agree, Hydration is the most important thing to a rider. you must hydrate the day before , the morning of and during a ride . I useally hydrate at nite with water then go to drink abeer or two. Then drink a bottle of water first thing warm then eat a bannanna , have a bowl of Oatmeal and after drink a cup of Organic coffee . I will drink two bottles of water before I get to my destination and munch on some snacks , like a granola bar or Cliff Bar then it is on to the riding, before the ride the coffee kicks in so I have to let mother nature take care of that, can't hold back the Do that let's you do what you do in the middle of a ride. Stay Hydrated people , winter, spring, summer and fall no matter what time of the year it is.. One Life and One Body and if you treat it right you will have One Love with your bike..The End.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Dear James Wilson,
Making a a feedback to this: "Try these two simple tips and if you have any that you've found helpful please post a comment sharing them, I'd love to hear it." I'd like to say that some drinks are just better than water in hydration. I mean drinks that are called isotonic drinks. I think Oshee offers them and they used to be offered by Isostar, but there is a lot of companies offering them. They are also available in pills that together with water make an isotonic solution. Second good advice is to drink in excess a bit of something (like water or some isotonic) before a ride, even if there is no a tiny need for this. This is individual to find how much can be drunk before, not to make a rider stop somewhere unscheduled for a private moment. The fact is water or drink is our fuel, as it all looks this way. So fuel before, during and after to keep the tank full before it shines a thirsty warning.
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Anyone else get near constant headaches after an intense ride? I never cramp. Really. But I get wicked headaches virtually every time I ride unless I eat sugar and salt the whole ride.
  • + 1
 +1 on the headaches. Indeed I drink quite a lot of water, and I become hungry quickly when riding. I will give the salt a try.
  • + 1
 And what I've found is that if my salt/sugar intake is good, I need less water. This probably because I'm not sweating as much, and it's probably not the healthiest thing to do, so I still drink a fair amount of water. I'm just worried that so much salt/sugar will have bad long term effects that outweigh the physical activity of riding.
  • + 1
 The sugar and salt is essentially the same combo as electrolyte drinks/chews/gels. Headaches can also be a symptom of dehydration. So you're doing the right thing. As long as you are keeping active, eating the sugar and salt is fine. You should try to time it so that you eat/drink 1-2 electrolyte supplements per hour of activity. Not sure how that translates to your snacks, but it's a guideline.
  • + 1
 Take a chocolate bar and slowly eat a chunk every couple of hours, Or when you finish your ride have a chocolate milk shake.
  • + 1
 What am I? A woman? Chocolate bars for the ride...come on man!
  • + 1
 I don't care do what you do, was only trying to help, I Geuss your Lycra's to tight and that's why your getting head aches.
  • + 0
 sense the sarcasm my friend...sense it.
  • + 1
 Just banter.
[Reply]
  • + 3
 two simple tips to help you stay hydrated and avoid cramps .
and at the top of the advertisement on the right says BUD LIGHT ?
  • + 2
 mine is saying devinci.....
[Reply]
  • + 2
 I sometimes get muscle cramps (full leg convulsions are the worst) at night after a marathon trail building day, it's no joke. I consciously hydrate too. Definitely going to give the sea salt a try, great suggestion.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 urgh i hate cramps! ive recently started getting them at about the 2-3 hour mark in endurance xc events, and its a huge pain! )pun intended( probably need to start stretching and upping my water then...
[Reply]
  • + 1
 does anyone know if it is true that if you consistently ride to a point where you are completely exhausted and havent ingested enough sugars and salts that you can become permanently diabetic?
  • + 1
 I don't think that's how diabetes works.
  • + 1
 my bad, hypoglycaemia
[Reply]
  • + 2
 I aim to drink around 2 gallons of water a day and around 4 bananas. Seems to be working pretty well for me for reducing cramps.
  • + 1
 2 Gallons is A LOT of water! haha Bananas indeed do help with cramping.
  • + 1
 It's not a lot if you want to convert to a healthy lifestyle and stay hydrated. Substituting water in place of soda and energy drinks makes you feel a lot more livelier and less sluggish. If you want a drink with flavor, choose coconut water over Gatorade and powerade. . There is less sugar and no high fructose corn syrup in coconut water. The only downside is coconut water's high cost.
  • + 1
 I dont drink soda or energy drinks but after drinking 1 liter of water i'm going to the bathroom 5 times. I would surely never leave the bathroom if I drank 2 gallons a day lol
  • + 1
 Dude, your username is tacobell123. Really? Pretty sure they don't serve "coconut agua"!
  • + 1
 I made that username six years ago. I don't eat any of the fast food crap such as Burger King, McDonald's, Taco Bell, Wendy's, etc. I don't recommend eating it either. I go by the theory of "not asking what is wrong with something, but asking what is right with it". I figured that if my coach tells me to hydrate x amount of water bottles before a game or eat x before a game. If just hydrated x amount everyday and only ate what I would before a big game; I would live a much better lifestyle.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 im not sure i understand what cramp is. i some times wake up in the night with my calf muscle tensed up like a rock and it fecking hurts. i thought that was cramp. what is cramp????????????????
  • + 1
 Yeah that's it. It's your muscle contracting, like you're flexing it really hard, but then it can't relax and hurts like hell. My calf muscles and feet cramp like that at night after rides if I don't drink enough or have a Gatorade to replace the vitamins lost during a ride.
  • + 1
 Yeah, that's cramp... but that can happen in the middle of a ride too, which is what's being discussed here.
  • + 1
 that could be a cramp too.
  • + 2
 I got leg cramp after a day on the bikes at a family meal out , kicked my cousin in the leg when the cramp hit me then I stood up really fast to straighten leg and lifted the table with me
[Reply]
  • + 1
 endurorider.pl/2013/02/source-widepac-3l

endurorider.pl/2010/06/nutrend-reg-ge-unisport white grapefruit, pink grapefruit, Ice fresh and green fresh are very tasty Smile
[Reply]
  • + 0
 I'm freaking blown away when I'm riding with a group of guys and they have nothing but a single water bottle with them on a mulit hour ride. I think to my self..how the eff do they have any energy. I stop and drink every 15-20 min of riding.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 if you question james's science or research you probably don't know who he is. he's not some guy who writes a random article...
[Reply]
  • + 3
 I dont think this has happened to me. Does it happen to everyone?
[Reply]
  • + 2
 my regimen: fill camel back 2litres / beer / arrive to destination / beer / bowl / ride / beer / bowl enjoy!
[Reply]
  • - 2
 I can attest to these facts...I wrote a 10 minute speech on the benefits of water...to keep it short...a full grown man shouldnt be drinking any less than 80 oz of water a day. I drink between 2-3 gallons a day and have been for the last two and a half years. I feel great and my body has adapted to having that much water every day so I dont have to take a box of depends with me or take a leak behind the nearest tree every ten minutes. Drink up!
  • + 5
 2-3 GALLONS? A day? Wow. You need to hang up the bike and go back to the sea. You're obviously a fish.
  • + 0
 Shit! That question bothers me a lot: do fish drink sea water? Can a fish get thirsty?
  • + 1
 actually i was a fish but over the past years i have evolved into a human who still thinks that he is a fish Big Grin
  • + 1
 If you drink 2-3 gal/day and don't have to pee any more than normal, where is it going? I'm either calling BS or you talk way too much during the course of a day!
  • + 1
 I ride bikes alot and do hot yoga every day...
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Why do fitness articles always cause such a shitstorm?
  • + 1
 Because it all depends while the world is full of experts of whom 99% sound like they have the best answer. It is impossible not to open a magazine of any kind and not get an article with nutrition advice. My boss tells me one everyday...
[Reply]
  • + 2
 I drink Brawndo, the thirst mutilator. It's got electrolytes.
  • + 1
 Plants love Brawndo. Its got electrolytes
[Reply]
  • - 2
 Honestly, 8 glasses a day is to me....to much. Some of the comments I have been reading, 2 litres or more of water for one person a day. That's insane. "On the days I sweat a lot from riding or training I will drink more water but don't really track how much more, I just try to avoid getting thirsty. I don't count what water I drink during riding/ training towards my 2 litre goal, it is just used to replace what I sweated out." THIS is exactly how the world is going to loose all possible drinking water before we find a way to make sea water drinkable.... but then again we shouldn't destroy our oceans either. You should be tracking how much you drink yeah humans are close to 60% water but you don't need to be replacing sweat constantly your not going to die and the only reason your doing this mr. author is because you don't like feeling thirsty your body can handle it but you cant. O well, this is coming from a person who can ride for 3 hours on an endurance ride, have a sip and keep going for the next 3 without any problems.... guess im biased a little.
  • + 1
 water is such a placebo
[Reply]
  • + 2
 My body is h2o intolerant is there an alternative?
  • + 21
 do you rust?
  • + 6
 May be some chain lube...
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Happened to me this past week for this first time and that hurt like a bitch.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 when i come out for a ride, two bottles, 1 litre of water, and a bottle of gatorade in my backpack...
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Margarita flavored Clif Shot Bloks are tasty.... 3x the sodium, but unfortunately no tequila yet Frown
  • + 1
 Unfortunately the taste like deer piss and still have far too much sugar in them.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 I had that happen before had cramps I was at whislter on Aline my stomcah was killing me drank to much water Frown
[Reply]
  • + 2
 fucking hell, just drink water, its not fucking hard.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 KIIS SWEAT RATE...know yours! Average person needs 1 sports bottle per 45 min exercise.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Article: Drink water
Comments: Useful stuff
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Haha yeah could have used more water a few days ago on my ride...
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Drink water and stretch... Cause self preservation..
[Reply]
  • + 1
 its not hard,just drink water
[Reply]
  • + 1
 I raced xc for 5 years and never had cramp once
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Thanks James, love all your articles.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 we need a waterfall gadget.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 LOL redbull gatorade an water!!!!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Drink a Gatorade perform o.o
[Reply]
  • + 1
 To be honest, I spend most of my summer trying to avoid water.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Do it Bear Grills, drink your own pee!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Osmo Preload Hydration. End of story.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 can i have a cup of tea?
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Little and often
[Reply]
  • - 2
 Worst article ever on PB. There is no scientific prove at all that, salt and hydration has any affect on cramps
  • + 1
 I agree. I don't know much about hydration, but I'm pretty sure cramp is more to do with salts than water anyway. There seemed little science or proof in there, just conjecture and waffle
[Reply]
Below threshold threads are hidden

Post a Comment



Copyright © 2000 - 2014. Pinkbike.com. All rights reserved.
dv14 0.056990
Mobile Version of Website