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  1. #1
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    Are you drinking too much water?

    I came across this Ted Talk this morning. Some interesting info about where hydration guidelines came from, and how dangerous they are. He doesn't get into it very deeply, but the core of the issue is that drinking too much water can result in dangerously low sodium levels. People used to run marathons without any water, and it was only after people started over-drinking that they started dropping dead on course. Prior to the 80's, when hydration guidelines were introduced, nobody suffered from depleted sodium.







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    He may have a few valid points but they didn't resonate (for me) because his talk was poorly presented. Maybe with his allotted time he should have stuck to just one subject.

    The hydration thing seems like total bs. He produced "alternate drinking guidelines" that promote drinking through thirst, which has now been totally accepted ??? By who? Also he suggests that the whole "overdrinking" thing was due to an industry conspiracy. How much does water cost? I'm not buying it.
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    I stick with my primal instincts, drink when I get thirsty. I ride with a pack and usually have more than I need.

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    Do the math.

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    If we're being totally honest, the vast majority of Americans don't drink nearly enough water, let alone too much.

    My mom is a great example. She'll come out to Colorado (arid, hot, high sun intensity) and I'll make her go for an EASY hike. Nothing greater than a 10% grade at any point in time, and very low gradients overall. She will not drink water before or during exercise. I don't know why, but nothing I can say or do will make her drink.

    Meanwhile, if I'm even a wee bit dehydrated, I can feel my HR become elevated due to reduced plasma volume. And then I'll slug half a liter of water to remedy the situation.
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    Athletes competing in the Tour de France drink 1-2 liters per hour to maintain top performance and team managers evaluate each individual and tailor nutrition and hydration needs accordingly. They (athletes) are constantly instructed to keep eating and drinking because it's so easy for them to forget and get behind, which negatively affects their performance. It would be very difficult for them to over-drink during a hard stage, and for sure they don't wait until they're thirsty to drink water.
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    Quote Originally Posted by J.B. Weld View Post
    Athletes competing in the Tour de France
    There's definitely a lot that can be learned from the riders in the tour, but there are also a lot of things that are taken to the extreme in the tour and do not apply to the average rider/human being.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Train Wreck View Post
    There's definitely a lot that can be learned from the riders in the tour, but there are also a lot of things that are taken to the extreme in the tour and do not apply to the average rider/human being.
    That's a common problem. People think that what's good for racers must be good for the average guy. It's like thinking that because top fuel funny cars run nitro methane and slicks, you should run that stuff on your daily driver. It extends into the dietary realm to imho. Just because a certain dietary regime results in increased performance, it doesn't mean it's healthy.

    On the water thing, I've been naturally reducing the amount of water I consume during exercise, and in recent years I've tended to average about 16oz per 90 minutes. This has sustained me for anything from short rides around the neighborhood to 8 hour rides at high elevation. Sodium intake seems to be far more important for longer efforts than anything else for me, and I'm mostly getting that from beef jerky because I don't like putting anything other than clean water in my bottles.



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    Quote Originally Posted by Train Wreck View Post
    There's definitely a lot that can be learned from the riders in the tour, but there are also a lot of things that are taken to the extreme in the tour and do not apply to the average rider/human being.

    The speaker was specifically referring to extreme athletes ( marathon runners)
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  10. #10
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    During a hard race effort it's almost impossible for your body to absorb as much water as you are losing. I always smile when I see a guy I'm racing against go for more than 10 minutes with drinking or carrying 16oz for a 2 hour race.
    Actively reducing your sodium intake to minimum levels will greatly help your body for longer events. Of course you will need to supplement the minimum level of salt to regulate your levels. For me this is about 1/5 electrolyte drink mix.

    The body only needs 500 mg sodium and most Americans easily consume 3,000 to 5,000 mg daily. That's up to 10 times recommended. Just crazy!

    Drink more water! Dehydration is far more likely then over-hydration.

    edit.
    That guy has some weird ideas on fatigue too. Your muscles absolutely affect your performance. They can and will fail regardless of what your brain says.
    Making shit harder than it needs to be isn't awesome, it's just...harder.

  11. #11
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    Proper hydration is always the result of a formula. Core temperature x effort modified by sun exposure, wind, humidity, altitude, duration of effort, age and personal experience (history of heat stroke episodes). Hydration during legitimate competition should always include careful electrolyte balance based on the formula. Ignoring these considerations is extremely dangerous. Every competitor has a personal responsibility to monitor hydration for themselves and not assume volunteers at aid stations can or will monitor their individual needs.
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    Quote Originally Posted by alexbn921 View Post
    During a hard race effort it's almost impossible for your body to absorb as much water as you are losing. I always smile when I see a guy I'm racing against go for more than 10 minutes with drinking or carrying 16oz for a 2 hour race.
    Actively reducing your sodium intake to minimum levels will greatly help your body for longer events. Of course you will need to supplement the minimum level of salt to regulate your levels. For me this is about 1/5 electrolyte drink mix.

    The body only needs 500 mg sodium and most Americans easily consume 3,000 to 5,000 mg daily. That's up to 10 times recommended. Just crazy!

    Drink more water! Dehydration is far more likely then over-hydration.

    edit.
    That guy has some weird ideas on fatigue too. Your muscles absolutely affect your performance. They can and will fail regardless of what your brain says.
    Interesting, when I raced cyclocross back in the day, it was pretty much accepted that any effort of less than 60 minutes required zero water, and most top riders didn't carry a water bottle at all.

    Diet is certainly key. I've been ketogenic for about a year now, and have to add salt to just about everything I eat. I even salt my coffee. But yes, the Standard American Diet (SAD) is horribly overloaded with sodium and other crap. Although, people are being hospitalized and dropping dead in the events because of low sodium, which is caused by too much water. Or maybe it's a combination of what they've been told is a healthy diet (high carb, low fat, low sodium), and exercise with too much water intake.

  13. #13
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    I too only drink when I am thirsty during a ride. I find that I use much more water when it's in the 85įf + and I hardly drink anything (maybe 8oz) on a 3 hour ride when it's around the 20's. I like to pack extra water when it is hot, because I've been in the situation where I ran out and blacked out in the heat. It was very unpleasant and messed with me for days. I feel better when I do a good job of hydrating the day before a ride rather than pounding a bunch of water during the ride. I hate that sloshing feeling in my stomach and I find that if I hydrate before I don't need as much water during. I don't go crazy the day before but drink enough until my pee is the right color (sorry if that's gross).

  14. #14
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    Didnít watch the vid but wanted to share my experience with the topic. Used to ride with a camelbak and unconsciously over hydrated and suffered severe leg cramps mostly on longer rides ~3hours. Switched to a hip pack and single small bottle mainly because the pack was overkill on most of my rides and how much lighter and cooler(temp) you feel with out a backpack.

    Only drinking about half the bottle most rides now and feeling great. The most important thing for me I found along with the reduced water intake is to be more aware of my sodium so I keep a baggy of deep sea salt that Iíll consume every so often along the trail. Cramping is all but gone except for a couple on a crazy 5+ hour ride where fatigue got the better of me.
    Of course everyoneís body and fitness is unique but am glad I experimented because it turns out for years I was lugging around a bunch of extra water weight making my back all sweaty for no reason.

  15. #15
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    Tim Noakes is a well known spokesperson from South Africa who is famous for his views on the keto diet. (following the water Ted talk video ) He got himself into legal hot water for being accused of giving bad advice in a tweet. He informed a woman that she could wean her baby off breast milk and start a LCHF (low carb high fat) for the baby. People jumped all over that statement. The case against him was about his approach of dispensing medical advice via Twitter without any knowledge of the particulars of the patient, a baby.

    In brief : He won his case (I believe it took 2 trials) but just be to clear Noakes was not acquitted because of the validity of the diet but because his statement was judged not to have been medical advice.
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    I do not need to listen to the video. Years of motocross in Texas heat have taught me that you need to hydrate with considerable sodium otherwise you will cramp and perform poorly.
    Drinking straight water as I did for years essentially does nothing except go right through your system. When you drink a lot of water without adding sodium you'll find you have to urinate often, you'll always feel thirsty, and you'll get cramps either while exercising or at night when you're trying to sleep.
    My diet was so clean for years that cramping was just a daily part of my life. Now, I drink sports drinks, I'll eat salted food, , those little styrofoam cups of soup are a great source, etc. The amount that I sweat I have to take in a lot of extra salt just to keep up. Now I rarely cramp, and when I do I just consume some salt and it goes away.

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    I just read through some previous comments and saw where 1 poster points out how excessive sodium consumption is for Americans.
    This made me realize that I should clarify that I eat a very clean diet 85% of the time. This leads to me having to add a lot of sodium by consuming foods and drinks that I otherwise would not touch.
    However if your typical lunch is the local Burger joint, your experience may vary.

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    I always add Emergen C Electro Mix (usually 2 packets) + sea salt to my water bottles and it makes a big difference or me.

  19. #19
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    Very interesting topic that I have no experience with. I have been back into MTBs for a little over a year now and I have just recently gotten into good enough shape to do 25-30 mile rides.

    I was just in So. Cal for a week and was planning shuttling Mt. Wilson. The shuttle ended up not having enough people to run on the day I had planned on going so I decided to start pedaling up the access road and figured I would just turn around part way up and ride some of the lower trails back down. All I had with me was a pack of Clif Salted Watermelon Bloks and 100 oz of water in my pack. 11.7 miles and 3900 ft later I found myself at the very top. I didn't feel too bad but I been sweating profusely for a long time at that point. About half way up I stopped and had half a pack (3) of Clif Salted Watermelon Bloks and I ate the last half before dropping in on the single track. Each serving was 100 mg of sodium so I had 200 total. Cramping set in about two-thirds of the way down. I am sure glad no one was around to see me do the cramp dance when they set in. LOL The whole ride ended up being 25 miles and 4700 something feet of elevation gain. I drank just about all of the 100 ounces of water over the course of 4 hours or so.

    How much sodium should I be looking to consume on a big ride like that? Would I be better off to drink some type of sports drink instead of water? Or just more Bloks? Something else entirely? Definitely interested in learning more. Cramping sucks!!!

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by rynomx785 View Post
    Very interesting topic that I have no experience with. I have been back into MTBs for a little over a year now and I have just recently gotten into good enough shape to do 25-30 mile rides.

    I was just in So. Cal for a week and was planning shuttling Mt. Wilson. The shuttle ended up not having enough people to run on the day I had planned on going so I decided to start pedaling up the access road and figured I would just turn around part way up and ride some of the lower trails back down. All I had with me was a pack of Clif Salted Watermelon Bloks and 100 oz of water in my pack. 11.7 miles and 3900 ft later I found myself at the very top. I didn't feel too bad but I been sweating profusely for a long time at that point. About half way up I stopped and had half a pack (3) of Clif Salted Watermelon Bloks and I ate the last half before dropping in on the single track. Each serving was 100 mg of sodium so I had 200 total. Cramping set in about two-thirds of the way down. I am sure glad no one was around to see me do the cramp dance when they set in. LOL The whole ride ended up being 25 miles and 4700 something feet of elevation gain. I drank just about all of the 100 ounces of water over the course of 4 hours or so.

    How much sodium should I be looking to consume on a big ride like that? Would I be better off to drink some type of sports drink instead of water? Or just more Bloks? Something else entirely? Definitely interested in learning more. Cramping sucks!!!
    You sound like youíre starting out on the right foot. Four hours is quite the ride and I imagine all but a very fit will experience some sort of fatigue or cramping at about the four or five hour mark, possibly sooner. I donít think there is a magic equation for water/salt just because everybody is so different, I would just go with trial and error on your local trails. Sports drinks are Probably a good supplement for all day excursions but probably not necessary on shorter 2-3 hour rides, where I started experimenting with drinking less.
    Along with not having to lug around a bunch of extra water weight I have to express how much more enjoyable and comfortable it is not riding with a Camelback, I highly recommend getting a hip pack and going to a water bottle if you can get away with it. I bought a dakine 2L hip pack about 2 1/2 years ago and I have not worn my Camelback since. Even on long rides a water bottle in the cage and one on the side of the hip pack is all Iíve ever needed. That in itself has been the biggest game changer for me and really has made riding a much more enjoyable experience.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shredmonkey View Post
    You sound like youíre starting out on the right foot. Four hours is quite the ride and I imagine all but a very fit will experience some sort of fatigue or cramping at about the four or five hour mark, possibly sooner. I donít think there is a magic equation for water/salt just because everybody is so different, I would just go with trial and error on your local trails. Sports drinks are Probably a good supplement for all day excursions but probably not necessary on shorter 2-3 hour rides, where I started experimenting with drinking less.
    Along with not having to lug around a bunch of extra water weight I have to express how much more enjoyable and comfortable it is not riding with a Camelback, I highly recommend getting a hip pack and going to a water bottle if you can get away with it. I bought a dakine 2L hip pack about 2 1/2 years ago and I have not worn my Camelback since. Even on long rides a water bottle in the cage and one on the side of the hip pack is all Iíve ever needed. That in itself has been the biggest game changer for me and really has made riding a much more enjoyable experience.
    Thanks for the response. That is certainly not a normal ride for me at all.

    I do have a Dakine 2L That I use on anything under 15 miles generally depending on elevation gain. Maybe I am drinking too much water. I guess I have some experimenting to do.

  22. #22
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    Random thoughts here: this guy doesn't seem like an athlete nor a doctor. Fatigue is entirely emotion? WTF? Because a marathon runner knows how to hold some power in reserve? He talks as if athletes just go at 100% all the time, falling off as they get more fatigued, rather than strategizing and pacing to ensure they have the strength to push through when it matters. Yes, there is a mental component to "pushing through", and many people don't have the fortitude to push through the pain barrier, but that is not the case in any high level athlete. You don't get to the Olympics if you aren't comfortable in the "pain cave".
    .
    Overhydration is something you primarily see in marathon running, and usually it's people who aren't competitive athletes but rather people trying to fulfill some fitness or bucket list goal. They keep drinking and drinking, usually straight water, and then when they start feeling loopy they assume they are dehydrated (the symptoms are the same) and drink even more.
    .
    I'm a firm believer in being "topped off" before you start, and then start taking sips about 30-40 minutes into the ride. By "topped off", your urine should be clear, once you reach that point, stop drinking. Too many people are in a perpetual state of dehydration, my wife being one of them.
    .
    I always ride with a mixture of water and Gatorade. I've never had a cramping issue. I've seen plenty of people laid out trailside nursing cramps, but it hasn't been me, if I'm on the ground trailside it's because I either went OTB or am having an asthma attack.
    .
    I always bring a PayDay bar with me to eat on the ride. Salted peanuts and sugar, just what you need to keep going.
    .
    You'll never get my Camelback off my back. It's saved my spine on more than one occasion.
    . . . . . . . .

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by rynomx785 View Post
    Very interesting topic that I have no experience with. I have been back into MTBs for a little over a year now and I have just recently gotten into good enough shape to do 25-30 mile rides.

    I was just in So. Cal for a week and was planning shuttling Mt. Wilson. The shuttle ended up not having enough people to run on the day I had planned on going so I decided to start pedaling up the access road and figured I would just turn around part way up and ride some of the lower trails back down. All I had with me was a pack of Clif Salted Watermelon Bloks and 100 oz of water in my pack. 11.7 miles and 3900 ft later I found myself at the very top. I didn't feel too bad but I been sweating profusely for a long time at that point. About half way up I stopped and had half a pack (3) of Clif Salted Watermelon Bloks and I ate the last half before dropping in on the single track. Each serving was 100 mg of sodium so I had 200 total. Cramping set in about two-thirds of the way down. I am sure glad no one was around to see me do the cramp dance when they set in. LOL The whole ride ended up being 25 miles and 4700 something feet of elevation gain. I drank just about all of the 100 ounces of water over the course of 4 hours or so.

    How much sodium should I be looking to consume on a big ride like that? Would I be better off to drink some type of sports drink instead of water? Or just more Bloks? Something else entirely? Definitely interested in learning more. Cramping sucks!!!
    The cramp thing is strange, and I think more a function of being new to the sport than anything to do with what you eat or drink. Maybe a function of your muscles adapting to the exercise.

    When I first started riding and racing, I had horrible cramps, sometimes while riding, other times hours later. For whatever reason, it just stopped happening after a couple of years, and now 25+ years later it's not something I even think about.

    My suggestion would be to do some stretching before and after your rides. Maybe even during if you stop to take a break. That always helped me "back in the day" when I experienced cramps.

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    Quote Originally Posted by scatterbrained View Post
    this guy doesn't seem like an athlete nor a doctor.
    FYI: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tim_Noakes

    "Doctor Timothy David Noakes (born 1949) is a South African scientist, and an emeritus professor in the Division of Exercise Science and Sports Medicine at the University of Cape Town. He is also a member of the National Research Foundation of South Africa, who list him as one of their highest-rated members.[1]

    He has run more than 70 marathons and ultramarathons,[2] and is the author of several books on exercise and diet. He is known for his work in sports science and for his support of a low-carbohydrate, high-fat (LCHF) diet
    "

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    Quote Originally Posted by _CJ View Post
    The cramp thing is strange, and I think more a function of being new to the sport than anything to do with what you eat or drink. Maybe a function of your muscles adapting to the exercise.

    When I first started riding and racing, I had horrible cramps, sometimes while riding, other times hours later. For whatever reason, it just stopped happening after a couple of years, and now 25+ years later it's not something I even think about.

    My suggestion would be to do some stretching before and after your rides. Maybe even during if you stop to take a break. That always helped me "back in the day" when I experienced cramps.
    I have been back riding for a year now or so and normally up 25 miles, I am good to go but, I think the 4700 ft of climbing may have had something to do with it. That certainly isn't the norm for me. LOL

    I definitely should start stretching before I ride. I am bad about that.

  26. #26
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    The body of a fit, lean person has quite the ability to maintain homeostasis in the face of hardship. I think if humankind could not withstand not drinking for 3 hours during moderate to hard physical activity we'd never have made it past the stone age.

    One thing, IMO, that has led to our fascination, and legitimate need, for excess fluid intake with exercise is the inability of many persons to shed heat. A lean, fit person can shed heat relatively well. Well insulated individuals not so much. Theory suggests one defining feature of **** sapiens that led to our supremacy was our ability to shed heat more easily that many other mammals.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by _CJ View Post
    FYI: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tim_Noakes

    "Doctor Timothy David Noakes (born 1949) is a South African scientist, and an emeritus professor in the Division of Exercise Science and Sports Medicine at the University of Cape Town. He is also a member of the National Research Foundation of South Africa, who list him as one of their highest-rated members.[1]

    He has run more than 70 marathons and ultramarathons,[2] and is the author of several books on exercise and diet. He is known for his work in sports science and for his support of a low-carbohydrate, high-fat (LCHF) diet
    "
    Well, I stand corrected,. . .
    . . . . . . . .

  28. #28
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    Some relevant info for the thread.

    https://www.sciencefriday.com/articl...ce-baths-work/

    Forward the time on the stream till about -32:00. Thatís when she covers hydration and recovery.
    TLDR/listen:
    Heat not ice muscles for recovery, drink when youíre thirsty, and protein anytime has benefits, not just directly after exercise.

    The link might be invisible for some reason.

  29. #29
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    One aspect to this I find challenging is that that there isn't a test (that I know of) to know if the sodium levels in your body are low enough that you need the salt, other than when you get symptoms of hyponatremia, which at that point you've basically screwed the pooch.

    I consume too much sodium in general, so even when riding in the summer, I drink straight water. My ASSumption is that I have more than enough sodium in my body and don't need to add to it. In the hotter months in Texas, I might kill 1- 2 liters during a ride, and drink an additional liter upon arriving at the car.

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