Your body can use up as much water and electrolytes when you are engaged in a high-intensity activity such as cycling. Even if you consume more, you can expect your body to take even more. Fact is that an average person can only use up about a gram of carbohydrate every minute and no more than that. In much the same way, your body can consume just enough water for it to remain fully functioning. More or less of what it needs will not only affect your performance but also your overall health. As you are required to consume water or other energy-giving fluids throughout an intense activity, it is best to bring one of the best water bottles for cycling.
The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), a global organization comprised of more than 50,000 professionals in the sports medicine and exercise science fields, recommends to those engaging in high-intensity activities to consume adequate energy to maintain body weight and health and maximize training effects. Low energy intake can lead to a loss of muscle mass, loss of or failure to gain bone density, an increased risk of fatigue, injury, as well as health issues, and even longer muscle recovery period.
The organization also recommends a consumption of about 30-60 grams of carbohydrate per hour of exercise. You should never go beyond these figures as the body can only oxidize about a gram of carbohydrate per minute, no matter how much is absorbed by the body. Taking more carbohydrate than what your body requires will not increase the absorption rate It can increase the chances of having an upset stomach, however.
It’s quite easy to overload on carbohydrate, however, especially when you are engaging in an intensive activity such as biking. But if you load more than what is necessary, it might just be more difficult for you to bike faster and be more efficient in what you are doing.
One of the easiest ways to optimize your carbohydrate intake during periods of high-intensity riding is to drink a low-carb, electrolyte hydrating drink while you’re consuming light, digestible snacks, such as fig bars, bananas, bagels, and low fat bite-sized cookies. You need to make sure that you get about 30 to 60 grams of carbohydrate every hour while ensuring that you are getting enough sodium and fluids while on the go.
Hydration on the go
Hydration can be tricky when you are doing high-intensity workouts. You need to remember, however, that it is essential for the proper functioning or your body and as this ensures your optimum performance. Thus, you need to make sure that you are properly hydrated and have taken an appropriate amount of energy-giving foods even before you head out to ride your bike. Hydration also needs to be continuous. Setting up a phone alarm or a smartwatch reminder to notify you when it is time (about every 15-20 minutes) to hydrate will be the easiest way that you can do to ensure that you can top up when necessary.
Remember that if you don’t carry enough hydrating food and drinks with you on your bike, you can’t go farther than you would otherwise. If you are still thinking of what to bring with you, consider this list we came up with for a better experience on the road.
For short rides that will last for about an hour or less, drinking water or a low-carb, electrolyte hydration drink will just be sufficient. Most beginner cyclists can get by for the whole duration of a 60-minute workout without additional energy-giving food. Just in case you will be out longer (you may never be certain if there will be some twist or turns along the way), you may want to carry a banana to munch once your energy level goes down. For optimal recovery, you may need to eat a full meal an hour after finishing an intense workout.
For medium-length rides that will last for up to 3 hours, you will need additional carbohydrate replacement. A couple of bottles of low-carb, electrolyte hydration drinks, as well as 30 to 60g of carbohydrate per hour from food, will get you through your ride. Make sure that you don’t wait before you are thirsty or hungry before you drink or eat. Drink smartly from one of the best water bottles for cycling that may be available online or from your local store. Nibbling as you go will also help fuel up your body so you won’t feel too tired to finish your ride. If you have enough even while you ride, you will still feel great by the time you finish your ride, even while you exert so much effort throughout the ride.
For longer rides that will be about 3 hours or more, you will need to make sure that you take in enough water and eat just the right amount of carbohydrate-rich food (30 to 60g of carbs per hour). Consuming a meal that will provide an adequate liquid that will maintain your hydration is also necessary. Consider foods that are low in fat and fiber as these foods minimize abdominal problems.
Remember that digestion can be a bit difficult if your ride gets longer, so you will need to eat more solids that you are more familiar with and that your stomach can tolerate even before you start with your ride. You will also need to drink plenty of fluid to go with the solids that you chew as you go.
Stay hydrated and consume enough foods that are high in carbohydrates to ensure that you will be at your best when you are on your bike. Don’t get caught up with dehydration or your ride might just end abruptly. Note that there are other factors that will influence your hydration requirement, so don’t just rely on your thirst but have a hydration system in place to ensure that you’ll be properly hydrated before, during, and even after every ride.