Due to huge variation in sports, individuals and conditions it is impossible to give an exact amount of fluid that should be consumed during exercise. Differences in individual sweat rates can range from 0.4L to 1.8L per hour. Athletes are now encouraged to develop individualised hydration strategies specific to their own sweat rates.
One simple method is to weigh yourself before and after a training session. To keep it simple a one hour session can give you a good idea of your sweat rate, especially if you can simulate the conditions you will experience when racing in terms of climate and intensity. For cyclists this can be conducted by using the turbo trainer or exercise bike. Follow these simple instructions:
- Weigh yourself naked immediately before exercise.
- Train for one hour and monitor how much fluid you take on board.
- Weigh yourself again naked immediately after exercise.
After exercise the calculated change in body weight will give you an indication of fluid loss.
Ambient temperature: 25°C
Pre-exercise weight: 70Kg
Post exercise weight: 69.5Kg
Fluid volume consumed during exercise: 500ml
This indicates your sweat rate would be 1ltr/hour (70Kg-69.5Kg = 500g + 500ml = 1)
Under these conditions you can be plan a hydration and fuelling strategy based on drinking 1ltr/hour.
One litre of fluid per hour could be taken as 500ml of water and 500ml of water with a serving of OTE energy drink. A 43g serving of OTE energy drink will provide 40g of carbohydrate as well as balanced electrolytes. If you are training or racing for longer than 90 minutes then taking a medium sized banana or energy gel alongside drinks should provide you with about the right amount of energy you need per hour.
Thirst is also a good way to dictate when to drink. As a rule of thumb it is always good practise to stay just ahead of that feeling of thirst. Consuming electrolyte drinks, such as OTE Hydro Tabs, will aid the absorption of fluid and also promote the feeling of thirst and further drinking. This is more beneficial than consuming just plain water.