A question often arises in the cycling field: Only water or even mineral supplements for cycling? We saw in the previous article how important it is to maintain the body’s water balance, how much water we need and how to take it correctly. Now let’s answer a prevalent question: is water sufficient, or do we need other liquid supplements during bike rides?
A distinguo: sporty and sedentary
In “normal life”, there is no reason to take a supplement if we usually eat a well balanced and varied diet. As we have already said, Electrolytes are inside fruits and vegetables, foods that should never be missing in our meals. However, things change when we bring our body to the limit during a sporting activity. Here, water is no longer enough, and the consumption of vitamins and electrolytes also increases exponentially. Therefore, we can turn to supplements, also called “sports food”. There are many types of supplements on the market, some more specific, others more oriented to being a simple, tasty drink and reaching a wider audience. Therefore, we must carefully choose our sports food for physical activity and not rely on advertising.
We choose electrolytes supplements to combat fatigue or even muscle cramps. But be careful: almost all supplements on the market contain sugars. Often simple sugars, with immediate release. More rarely complexes, such as malt dextrins, with a more gradual release. This is correct: it is advisable to take 30-60 grams of sugars every hour during an effort. However, we must be careful not to overdo it and not to abuse this formula. The right drink should contain 4 to 6% carbohydrates. So, for example, a non-sport-oriented carbonated drink would already have a too high quantity of sugars for sporting activity!
The addition of electrolytes claims more water
Be careful: sugars and salts require more water to be assimilated, bringing thirst! If our supplement has too high a concentration of electrolytes and/or sugars, it could even lead to more dehydration! For this, two essential rules must be followed: the first is to focus on the quality of the supplement, perhaps even spending a little more money, which, however, will be well rewarded during the effort. The second is to prioritise water and use supplements only as a surplus, just as the word “supplement” already means. Use ready-made and specific drinks, yes, but without exaggerating.