During long stage races or high temps, pro cyclists can sweat as much as 2 to 4 liters per hour, requiring them to consume anywhere from 10 to 20 liters of fluid per day depending upon the weather and race length.
How do pro cyclists manage to stay hydrated when they sweat so much?
The easiest way to keep track of your sweat rate is to simply weigh yourself before and after exercise (assuming you didn’t stop for a “nature break”). One liter of sweat loss is equal to 1 kilogram or 2.2 lbs of weight. The average pro cyclist will lose between 2 to 4% of their body weight during a single stage despite drinking 1 to 2 liters per hour.
[RELATED: How to Calculate Your Sweat Rate]
Everyone knows they sweat a lot during exercise. But water alone isn’t enough to rehydrate. A hard-working cyclist can sweat as much as 2 to 4 liters per hour. All that sweat takes sodium with it, as much as 400 to 800 mg per liter. A sports drink with sodium is the best way to replace lost electrolytes to avoid performance declines or serious illness.
How much sodium do you need during a ride? It’s hard to know because everyone sweats a different rates and loses different amounts of sodium. In general, rehydrating with 300 mg of sodium per half liter of water is about right.
Not only is sodium a key electrolyte for maintaining the proper function of every cell in our body, sodium when paired with a little bit of sugar or glucose can actually accelerate the transport of water across the small intestine. Again, sports drinks are better than water!
In the Feed Zone, the menu has changed and no one can argue with the results: real food is better. Real food tastes better, digests quickly, and helps you perform at your best.