cycling · diets · sports nutrition

Ride faster with a sports drink

“You may not need the carbs and calories from that Gatorade until mile 25, but sipping a sports drink with carbohydrate, rather than plain water, from the start of a long ride can help spare your precious muscle glycogen stores by about 50 percent in the first hour alone, according to a study published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. This means you’ll have more energy for the long haul.”

Read the rest of the “go faster” tips here:

Interestingly, some of the performance enhancing effects come even if you just “swish and spit” the stuff. I blogged about that here, a post in which I also talk about my struggles intuitive eating on the bike.

Talking about the Precision Nutrition zero calorie beverage habit, I wrote: “I have one exception. I do drink sports drink while cycling. Not on rides under 80 km but on hot days, after a 100 km, I need something more than water on my bike. I keep two bottles with me on the bike, one with plain water and the other filled with a water/sports drink combo. And I’m experimenting with other options. We’ll see. I’m a lousy intuitive eater on the bike. When I ride hard my appetite disappears and I can crash for lack of fuel. After long slower rides, I’m hungry for days and keep eating long after fuel is needed.”

After experimenting I’ve decided to stick with sports drink, not Gatorade but another brand, while riding, especially for long rides. I also found that if I keep eating throughout the ride at regular intervals I avoid that feeling of being famished and ready to eat whole pies for the day after. Progress.


2 thoughts on “Ride faster with a sports drink

  1. I find it’s a real mindfulness thing, especially early in the ride. The first 25 km of any ride can feel the same, so I have to make myself concentrate on eating and drinking appropriately right from the start, if I’m riding long that day. For my body, at least, if I waited until 100 km to switch away from water, my bonk would already be in the mail.

    1. Yeah, I eat right before I ride and carry solid food with me on the bike too. And you’re right, that’s forced habit. I don’t feel like I want it but I know from past experience that I’ll need it. Fuel in the tank, as they say.

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