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  1. #1
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    Pre-hydration...no need to carry water?

    I am finding more and more that I can easily go for 3 hours in 90 degree heat, with no water at all, so long as I drink 150 ounces [edit: 50 ounces, not 150 ounces] of Gatorade before I get on my bike. I returned from so many rides so many times now with my valve on my CamelBak not even open, that I basically gave it up (unless I am riding solo on a secluded trail, in which case I lug my CamelBak around, with tools, bear spray, some gel and maybe 20 ounces of water).

    Is riding for 3 hours without any trailside hydration thrashing my body unnecessarily? I do find afterwards that I am a little dehydrated but not bad at all. Beats carrying a pack, especially on cooler days or shorter rides. All my PRs are without a pack.

    I think pre-hydration is sooooooo key. Not sure why it has taken me 20+ years to discover this.

    Anyone else think pre-hydration can easily get you through a few hours of balls to the wall riding, even in desert temps?
    Last edited by mtnbkrmike; 07-01-2015 at 09:44 AM.

  2. #2
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    I don't think I could down almost 5 32 ounce bottles of Gatorade in a short period of time. If I did, I don't think it would be very pleasant to then go on a three hour ride in the desert. But, if it works fo you, that's great. At any rate, prehydrating to some degree is important.

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    You'd be surprised how much the human body can become dehydrated and still function normally. Back in HS when I was in wrestling, it wasn't unheard of for me to lose 8-9 pounds in a single 1.5 hour practice to make weight for a tournament. I felt fine.

    Lately, I've been in the same boat as you. I've been doing a lot of rides without a pack or water -- simply because I CAN'T STAND wearing a backpack, and on trails that are fairly close to civilization, I'm confident that I could walk out and/or get help from someone before any emergency arose. I always chug 32-44 oz. of water beforehand though, depending on how much I've drank in the hours prior. I'm pretty good at telling how much water I need in my system.

    I've also had the thought, though half-jokingly, that by not wearing a pack, I'm netting roughly the same hydration due to NOT sweating it out through my back.
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    wow that is allot of gatorade. I could not go your route. I like to drink as I go and could not put that much fluid in me beforehand.

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    Wow. I mis-calclated. I live in Canada and converted liters to ounces in my head. I drink a liter and a half for 3 hours, which is equal to 50 ounces. I drink a third or so of that getting ready at home, a third or so on the way to the trail head, and the rest at the trail head while I am getting ready for the ride.

    Yeah, don't think I could drink 3x that amount.

    I also try my best to drink as much water as I can at work pre-ride as well, throughout the day.

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    If it works for you, but Id rather have those 50 ounces on my back than sloshing around in my stomach.
    And stopping to pee every 15 minutes...
    But then again I probably don't hydrate enough, I carry MULE with a couple liters and riding on a 90 degree day I'll still lose 5 lbs. And I don't have a lot of extra pounds to lose.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Barman1 View Post
    If it works for you, but Id rather have those 50 ounces on my back than sloshing around in my stomach.
    And stopping to pee every 15 minutes...
    But then again I probably don't hydrate enough, I carry MULE with a couple liters and riding on a 90 degree day I'll still lose 5 lbs. And I don't have a lot of extra pounds to lose.
    Last ride I only peed twice in 3 hours. I seriously think it mostly sweated and evaporated through my pores. However, to your last point, I did buy a pair of jeans later that day. I took a 32 waist the first time since grade 9. I best be trying those on again before the return window expires. LMFAO.

  8. #8
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    I currently ride in 95 degrees heat for about the same time ( 3 to 4 hours ) every other day but I have to drink as I go. On average, I drink about 20 ounces every half-hour.
    When it's cooler, around 65 degrees or less, I can ride for 3 hours without a drink.

    If I tried to pre-hydrate with 150 ounces, I wouldn't enjoy the ride and would still end up with cramps 2 hours into the ride.

    As far as I know, drinking sensibly before, during and after exercise are all essential for avoiding dehydration and the complications it brings. Even though you may feel fine, there may be some level of damage to certain organs such as as the kidneys.

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    Quote Originally Posted by c8stom View Post
    ...If I tried to pre-hydrate with 150 ounces, I wouldn't enjoy the ride and would still end up with cramps 2 hours into the ride...
    I corrected that above to 50 ounces, not 150 ounces.

    I do rehydrate immediately afterwards. Still though, I suspect you are right - not optimal from a health perspective.

  10. #10
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    Times are changing when having regular nutritious meals loses priority to other things, and things are worked in as a substitute. Before you corrected yourself, I was beginning to think we might have a future diabetic here. Don't overdo pre-hydration, especially not all at one time, and try and maintain a balance, hydrating regularly throughout the day.

    In case you'd like to push yourself harder on your rides, how about something like this instead of a hydration pack: Race Face (note that I have never used this product, and others may very well hate it)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Varaxis View Post
    Times are changing when having regular nutritious meals loses priority to other things, and things are worked in as a substitute. Before you corrected yourself, I was beginning to think we might have a future diabetic.
    Hahaha! Sometimes I just use water too, but I find I have significantly more snap out of the blocks with Gatorade, plus I have a MUCH easier time chugging it down than straight water.

    Maybe I should just start looking for a more comfortable/smaller hydration pack...

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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbkrmike View Post
    Wow. I mis-calclated. I live in Canada and converted liters to ounces in my head. I drink a liter and a half for 3 hours, which is equal to 50 ounces. I drink a third or so of that getting ready at home, a third or so on the way to the trail head, and the rest at the trail head while I am getting ready for the ride.

    Yeah, don't think I could drink 3x that amount.

    I also try my best to drink as much water as I can at work pre-ride as well, throughout the day.
    NOW it makes sense!

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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbkrmike View Post
    Hahaha! Sometimes I just use water too, but I find I have significantly more snap out of the blocks with Gatorade, plus I have a MUCH easier time chugging it down than straight water.

    Maybe I should just start looking for a more comfortable/smaller hydration pack...
    I use a belt carrier which holds separate bottle holders but I only attached two each holding up to 1.5 litres each. I usually freeze 1 litre in each bottle the night before a ride then fill up the rest with water just before setting out. It means my water is ice cold.

    I also have a camel bak but I don't like using it in the heat.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbkrmike View Post
    I am finding more and more that I can easily go for 3 hours in 90 degree heat, with no water at all
    I think pre-hydration is sooooooo key. Not sure why it has taken me 20+ years to discover this.
    You can go for 10h without any water, but that doesn't mean it's good Body can stand A LOT of beating, but this still doesn't mean we should keep torturing it. Of course prehydration matters, and it helps, but if you want to keep your body in shape, you still shouldn't let it dehydrate, and with 3h (in heat or at -20c) hard activity, you dehydrate badly. So even if you drink liters of water beforehand, you should keep your body hydrated during workout. Just look at pro sport, where all athletes are extremely well prehydrated, yet they still drink even during races that last "just" 1h. I have been in pro xc skiing myself for years, where races are normally at temperatures well below 0c, yet you were still drinking between races as soon as you got over 10km distance (some 20-25min race). Sometimes we were getting drinks between races even at 10km distances, if it was hot. And with xc skiing hot means let's say +5c
    For mtb it's all just much much worse, as weather is much hotter. Even nowadays, when I do sport just for fun, I keep myself really well hydrated, yet nowadays, when we have some heat wave going on and we currently have some +33-35c (90-95F), I need to drink at least 1L of water during 90min if workout is hard (yesterday 2 600ml bottles went down my throat during 80mins hard mtb ride).
    So yes, you can survive those few hours without water, but you are hurting your body, and you would get much more out of ride (firstly performance vise, and also fun vise) with proper hydration during workout. That includes also much shorter recovery time, and no headaches and other dehydration problems after workout.
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    Book an appointment with your Dr and ask him to explain what might happen to your body with frequent dehydration cycles.

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    Quote Originally Posted by c8stom View Post
    Book an appointment with your Dr and ask him to explain what might happen to your body with frequent dehydration cycles.
    What is the answer, in a nutshell?

    Since starting this thread, I actually do believe I am dehydrated after riding, regardless of how much I drink beforehand. I lost a LOT of weight after a ride Sunday and it took me a long time to regain it. My body shrunk - physically. Clothes were hanging off me after. At the end of the ride, my shorts almost slipped off as I stood up on my pedals riding into the parking area.

    I think I can get away with pre-hydration only for shorter rides in cool temps and overcast skies. But even then, I agree - better to keep hydrating while riding. I have come around. I ordered a new hydration pack off Chain Reaction last night. Hopefully I don't mind it as much as my old one.

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    Wait till you get your first kidney stone. You'll appreciate consistent water intake.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbkrmike View Post
    What is the answer, in a nutshell?
    First of all, I think this type of question would be better posted on a health forum where a qualified health professional can provide you with general advice and information on the risks of your hydration regime.

    There is no simple answer as dehydration can affect people in many different ways but suffice to say, it's not good. If you want to know more but do not want to speak to a health professional in person, Google the subject.

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    Quote Originally Posted by c8stom View Post
    First of all, I think this type of question would be better posted on a health forum where a qualified health professional can provide you with general advice and information on the risks of your hydration regime.

    There is no simple answer as dehydration can affect people in many different ways but suffice to say, it's not good. If you want to know more but do not want to speak to a health professional in person, Google the subject.
    Well I wasn't planning on suing you if you're wrong. Lol. You raised it. It's reasonable to assume you know something about it. But yeah. Ok. Thanks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbkrmike View Post
    Well I wasn't planning on suing you if you're wrong. Lol. You raised it. It's reasonable to assume you know something about it. But yeah. Ok. Thanks.
    I know you wouldn't but there's so much info out there it would be silly of me to try to give a condensed answer

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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbkrmike View Post
    Since starting this thread, I actually do believe I am dehydrated after riding, regardless of how much I drink beforehand.
    That's not a surprise, most people are dehydrated to some level after a long hard ride. The goal is to just not let yourself get overly dehydrated to where your athletic performance suffers (annoying but not a big deal) or to where your body starts shutting down organs because of lack of liquid in the blood (read about Chris Legh at the Iron Man Triathlon and having to have 1/3 of his large intestines removed because they died from dehydration, yes it's serious).

    There are several companies that make pre-race super hydration products, usually called hyper hydration or something. The idea is that drinking more of the normal liquid will just go through you quicker, what you want is something with more salt so your body will hold onto that fluid better when you are starting the event. The hyper hydration isn't usually designed to replace normal race hydration but to give yourself a better fighting chance to try to keep up with your hydration in situations where you just can't drink and absorb enough to come close to replacing what you're losing via sweat and mouth vapor. I've used both the Skratch Labs hyper hydration and OSMO Preload Hydration, both have ~1700mg sodium for a 16oz bottle, so you're drinking something stupid salty. In my experience they do seem to help, there is no way to test forsure if they helped as the variables are never the same from one ride/race to the next, but taking that 30-60 min before my ride certainly didn't hurt me that's forsure.
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    I am surprised you do not get any warning signs / cramps.

    In my case, I get a tingle in my toes. If I still don't drink, cramp sets in on lower legs about 10 mins after. If I drink regularly, I can ride for hours.

    I consider myself fit yet 95 degrees is punishing for me without water. How you manage 3 hours at 90 degrees baffles me. Do you have a hump ?

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    After a couple years of cycling 3-4 times a week I began requiring less hydration during rides. I still pre-hydrate and carry water (one or two 22 oz bottles depending on distance and pace) which is a lot less than my riding cronies who generally have 50-100 oz's on their back. The point here is that everyone has different hydration requirements and what works for one person may not be applicable for others.

    Sugar tends to rev me up and then makes me feel lethargic after a while. For this reason, I tend to steer clear of sugary drinks. I occasionally have a protein bar during or in rare instances, a couple of Shot Bloks toward the end of a ride/race. I would only consume Gatorade if I was flagging bad with signs of dehydration (significantly dry mouth, unquenchable thirst, scalp/skin tingling, etc.)

    In terms of extreme heat, the harshest conditions I've ridden in were 50+ miles in 104 F; definitely carried water bottles (and refilled toward the end of the ride- probably could have made it back without refill but thought it was better to be safe than sorry). For all day rides 50-80+ milers, cold weather excursions or big loops where we go deep into the woods, I carry a big CamelBak and generally end up offering some water to others as opposed to draining it myself.

    You are really playing with fire- if you get severely dehydrated once it can affect you for a very long time (if not permanently).
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    Quote Originally Posted by edubfromktown View Post
    You are really playing with fire- if you get severely dehydrated once it can affect you for a very long time (if not permanently).
    I second that. Organ/cell damage aside, I've heard of a case where someone passed out/fainted whilst in motion.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mabrodis View Post
    That's not a surprise, most people are dehydrated to some level after a long hard ride. The goal is to just not let yourself get overly dehydrated to where your athletic performance suffers (annoying but not a big deal) or to where your body starts shutting down organs because of lack of liquid in the blood (read about Chris Legh at the Iron Man Triathlon and having to have 1/3 of his large intestines removed because they died from dehydration, yes it's serious).

    There are several companies that make pre-race super hydration products, usually called hyper hydration or something. The idea is that drinking more of the normal liquid will just go through you quicker, what you want is something with more salt so your body will hold onto that fluid better when you are starting the event. The hyper hydration isn't usually designed to replace normal race hydration but to give yourself a better fighting chance to try to keep up with your hydration in situations where you just can't drink and absorb enough to come close to replacing what you're losing via sweat and mouth vapor. I've used both the Skratch Labs hyper hydration and OSMO Preload Hydration, both have ~1700mg sodium for a 16oz bottle, so you're drinking something stupid salty. In my experience they do seem to help, there is no way to test forsure if they helped as the variables are never the same from one ride/race to the next, but taking that 30-60 min before my ride certainly didn't hurt me that's forsure.
    Interesting. Thanks for that response. Much appreciated. I shall check this out further.

    PS - when you say "so your body will hold onto that fluid better", I assume you are referring to sweating, because I can easily drink a liter pre-ride and not pee the whole time out.

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    Quote Originally Posted by c8stom View Post
    I am surprised you do not get any warning signs / cramps.

    In my case, I get a tingle in my toes. If I still don't drink, cramp sets in on lower legs about 10 mins after. If I drink regularly, I can ride for hours.

    I consider myself fit yet 95 degrees is punishing for me without water. How you manage 3 hours at 90 degrees baffles me. Do you have a hump ?
    I'm sure it's not good for me. I sweat like a sonofa b too, which only makes things worse. But yeah - if I pre-hydrate sufficiently, I can go for 3 hours in 95 degrees. Now...I would say that the last hour is at a slower pace, and that I will lose up to 5 pounds, which takes a while to regain. So there is a cost. But carrying a pack will also decrease my pace - all my PRs are without a pack.

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    I typically load up on water before a ride but since I do lots of single track away from help I always take a bottle just incase of a bad wreck, flat tire issue, or ? I only use the water once in while but its nice to have when you need it. Most of us can go on extended periods with out it but since its available why risk it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbkrmike View Post
    Interesting. Thanks for that response. Much appreciated. I shall check this out further.

    PS - when you say "so your body will hold onto that fluid better", I assume you are referring to sweating, because I can easily drink a liter pre-ride and not pee the whole time out.
    Not so sure a ton of sodium is a healthy choice either.

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    I have been very dehydrated (at least the worst that I can recall in my adult life) when running 13 miles in SoCal trails in approx. 75-85 degree heat. I've never focused on finding water/gatorade that severely before or after.

    I typically drink a little water and half cup of coffee prior to my morning trail rides but the temp is usually below 70 degrees around 6am SoCal. I always ride with a Camelback marathon belt (single 8 oz bottle) and a 3 liter water bladder in the back pack.

    You never want to run out of water. You always need to plan for worst case scenario. Otherwise you will be in big trouble one day.

    So yes: I recommend drinking before, during and after workouts. I don't like to drink too much prior to rides because I don't like to stop for urinating in the trails.

    To those guys who ride for even 1 hr in 90+ degree temps: you are animals. wow.

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    Quote Originally Posted by asookazian View Post
    I don't like to drink too much prior to rides because I don't like to stop for urinating in the trails.
    Do you find yourself needing to urinate? I ask because I don't. I bike instead of run but I will routinely go 3-6 hours without urinating when in an event, and that's while drinking at least 24oz/hour, usually much more (always drinking something with plenty of electrolytes, so not worried about hyponatremia)... I don't always feel thirsty but I pretty much never need to urinate. I don't know if that's because I sweat out so much that I have no extra liquid to urinate or if my digestive tract is just a log-jam so what I'm drinking isn't actually getting absorbed (so I am dehydrated even though I'm drinking)...not sure.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mabrodis View Post
    Do you find yourself needing to urinate? I ask because I don't. I bike instead of run but I will routinely go 3-6 hours without urinating when in an event, and that's while drinking at least 24oz/hour, usually much more (always drinking something with plenty of electrolytes, so not worried about hyponatremia)... I don't always feel thirsty but I pretty much never need to urinate. I don't know if that's because I sweat out so much that I have no extra liquid to urinate or if my digestive tract is just a log-jam so what I'm drinking isn't actually getting absorbed (so I am dehydrated even though I'm drinking)...not sure.
    Me too. I am convinced I sweat it out. I can drink 2 liters pre ride and if I get out quick enough and if it's hot enough, I can go basically the entire time without peeing.

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    You guys that aren't pissing it out might consider a chit-chat with a urologist. Output is a key ingredient in kidney function and low output can be an indicator of future issues, especially stones. I know, I've been there and had a 24 hour output test done. It wasn't so much what I was eating/drinking as much as I wasn't taking in enough to flush my system. Just something to consider.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbkrmike View Post
    Me too. I am convinced I sweat it out. I can drink 2 liters pre ride and if I get out quick enough and if it's hot enough, I can go basically the entire time without peeing.
    Mine is all sweated out and more. I am 160lbs before I set off. After 3 hrs riding and 4 liters of water, I am 158lbs when I reach home. If I don't drink more water, I don't urinate but I make sure I drink at least 2 liters steadily. I recently started adding electrolyte tabs to my drinks to see how that affects my water loss. Will report back
    Last edited by c8stom; 07-14-2015 at 06:48 AM.

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    It appears I sweat it all out or breath it all out. I'm 235 lb and, not surprising, being fat and all, I sweat a lot. It's not uncommon for my helmet straps to be caked in white minerals and to have white crusty sweat stains on my jersey.
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    I think his point is that you should be drinking enough to sweat out all you do and STILL have to pee. If you aren't drinking enough for that to occur, you probably aren't drinking enough, and should be drinking more pre- and during the ride.
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    Ok you want to know what is officially recommended for hydration? Ask whoever runs this:

    BADWATER 135 | Badwater

    These guys are sick.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mabrodis View Post
    That's not a surprise, most people are dehydrated to some level after a long hard ride. The goal is to just not let yourself get overly dehydrated to where your athletic performance suffers (annoying but not a big deal) or to where your body starts shutting down organs because of lack of liquid in the blood (read about Chris Legh at the Iron Man Triathlon and having to have 1/3 of his large intestines removed because they died from dehydration, yes it's serious).

    There are several companies that make pre-race super hydration products, usually called hyper hydration or something. The idea is that drinking more of the normal liquid will just go through you quicker, what you want is something with more salt so your body will hold onto that fluid better when you are starting the event. The hyper hydration isn't usually designed to replace normal race hydration but to give yourself a better fighting chance to try to keep up with your hydration in situations where you just can't drink and absorb enough to come close to replacing what you're losing via sweat and mouth vapor. I've used both the Skratch Labs hyper hydration and OSMO Preload Hydration, both have ~1700mg sodium for a 16oz bottle, so you're drinking something stupid salty. In my experience they do seem to help, there is no way to test forsure if they helped as the variables are never the same from one ride/race to the next, but taking that 30-60 min before my ride certainly didn't hurt me that's forsure.
    This thread sounds wild, I'm amazed anyone can even make it through a three hour ride without fluids regardless of whether or not they end up dehydrated. Very badass!

    Since the start of the year I started a YouTube channel and website reviewing endurance related products, and I'm a SUPER salty sweater so I've tried A LOT of electrolyte drinks over the bast few months. I agree that OSMO Preload and Skratch Hyper Hydration/Rescue will help top up the levels and give a much better chance of not depriving your body of electrolytes. Personally, and all science completely aside, I've had the best and hardest workouts after taking OSMO Preload within the hour before a workout or race.

    I hope this doesn't come across as spammy, but because I'm new to doing these videos I'm interested to hear what as many people as possible think of the videos. Here are the Skratch and Osmo reviews I've done:

    Skratch Labs Exercise Hydration: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uoPDdgAmO2Y

    OSMO Preload: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gy0lCsEVFBQ

    Osmo Active Hydration for Men: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pygd1t3NLGk

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    Watched the OSMO Pre-Load review. Great job. Thanks.

    Thoughts on 1600mg of sodium per serving? Wondering whether the cure may be worse than the disease...

    I was taking Gaspari Glycofuse intra while cardio training over the winter. Not in the same category as the OSMO but I mention it only because in terms of a performance enhancer, well, that it was. Big time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbkrmike View Post
    Watched the OSMO Pre-Load review. Great job. Thanks.

    Thoughts on 1600mg of sodium per serving? Wondering whether the cure may be worse than the disease...

    I was taking Gaspari Glycofuse intra while cardio training over the winter. Not in the same category as the OSMO but I mention it only because in terms of a performance enhancer, well, that it was. Big time.
    Thanks for talking a look! I never really thought about the sodium intake from an overall health perspective. A nutritionist once told me that assists who typically easy fairly clean are more at risk of under-salting their food intake than anything, my wife cooks everything from scratch so I just haven't thought about it.

    That said, yeah it does seem like a lot of sodium. Agreed. But as a sometimes - supplement taken around a really hard workout, I believe a lot of the excess sodium gets peed out. But, if you were someone that has to watch their sodium intake I - personally - would lean more towards just replacing the sodium you lose through sweating which is around 200-400mg power hour I believe.

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by mabrodis View Post
    ...(always drinking something with plenty of electrolytes, so not worried about hyponatremia)...
    I have now read up a bit on hyponatremia. Thanks for raising it.

    The companies with hydration products have done a good job over the decades of convincing people that there is no such thing as too much water (at least that is how I have interpreted it - perhaps they would say in their defence that they were promoting electrolyte rich hydration, and not just water intake).

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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbkrmike View Post
    I have now read up a bit on hyponatremia. Thanks for raising it.

    The companies with hydration products have done a good job over the decades of convincing people that there is no such thing as too much water (at least that is how I have interpreted it - perhaps they would say in their defence that they were promoting electrolyte rich hydration, and not just water intake).
    Overhydrating/water poisoning is a real thing! Hyponatemia is a much bigger concern if you're hydrating with pure water as a big risk with hyponatremia is having too high a ratio of blood to electrolytes in your system, using electrolyte drinks lessens this issue.

    Too much water = DANGER! Too much electrolyte drink = more pee and an upset tummy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ARaceTaren View Post
    Too much water = DANGER! Too much electrolyte drink = more pee and an upset tummy.
    That's what I wrote in some other thread... nutrition experts with 1 week "course" they finished over internet, with no knowledge about medical side. I strongly suggest you to read a bit further into this subject before doing such claims. Seriously!
    I agree overhydration can be problem, but it's far from easy to get that far. Getting too much of electrolytes is not just more pee, but can cause serious medical issues. Not on same day, but on long run. So please, before claiming such ridiculous things, get a bit deeper knowledge about all this (and issues that such things bring on long run), as there are people, who will read your post and actually take it as serious suggestion.
    Primoz

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    Why not use a bottle? 3 hours is a long time to go with no water but I agree that big camelbaks can be a pain. Recently I did a 6hours race that was hot and humid I was drinking about a bottle ever 1hr but still ended the race with serious dehydration. My body basically started shutting down and it took days to feel 100% back to normal.

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    My claim was that hyponatremia isn't as common when using electrolyte enriched drinks as opposed to using pure water. What's so ridiculous about that?

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    Why torture yourself by chugging down so much gatorade? First of all, that's a lot of sugar. Bad. Secondly, you're filling up your stomach with too much water, feeling like a water baloon ain't the most comfortable thing. Lastly, it might make you wanna pee in the middle of the woods. You don't wanna be seen, can get in some trouble, depending where you ride.

    I drink little by little as I go from my pack.

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