Hydration Tips: Ride Stronger, Recover Faster

By Founder and Head Coach of Cigala Cycling, Matteo Cigala

Water is a crucial factor for training/racing and recovery and it’s one of most important nutrient for the cyclist. Without the right amount of fluids on board, you are at unnecessary risk for dehydration, lower training intensity, and heat illness.


 

Water is a lubricant for your muscular fibers and maintains a proper body temperature. It is also a very good “hunger-killer” and helps reduce lipid deposits with its lubricating action. In fact, is the water that divides the nutrients inside our body, passing them through the cell membranes and delivering nutrients to every part of our system.
​During a cycling activity, losing about 2% of your body weight in water is equivalent to up to 6% decrease in your performance. If you go over, a 10-12% can be extremely dangerous. It is therefore essential for athletes to plan carefully a good rehydration strategy: this can be obtained only by taking a proper quantity of water and sodium chloride.

Try to take “water-breaks” instead of the usual “coffee-breaks” and try to drink at least 2 lt of water a day (without counting the quantity that you drink while training). Fill up a bottle of 2lt every morning and make sure to finish it before the end of the day.
Sodium is necessary in order to maintain the right plasmatic volume before, during and after a training session or a race. If someone raced yesterday, you could have see, in such a hot day, how much water and salt you lost during the race. Hence, a sprinkle of salt in your water and some good powered drink with enough quantity of sodium is important.


Check your weight before and after training sessions (or events) in order to check your hydration level and to know the quantity of fluid you need to take back into your body. Generally, take in 1.5 of the body weight loss of fluids. Try to avoid too much caffeine or alcohol. In fact, their diuretic effect, are no good for proper hydration. Drink at least 500 ml of liquids 2 hours before training session/race and give your body the necessary time to absorb the water and release the excess fluids. If the temperature on the day of the training session/race is higher than normal temperatures, make sure you add 2-3 g of salt per litre to your water. The sweat contains also potassium, magnesium, calcium and iron. Hence, during the season and especially during summer, is recommend that you include these minerals in your supplementation/nutrition programme.

Matteo Cigala
Founder & Head Coach