Chris Carmichael Blog: Hydration Tips and Weekend Reading Material

It’s been an incredibly busy few weeks around CTS, for the coaches as well as for me. Last weekend was the Trans Andes Boot Camp, two days of physiological testing and skills work followed by two back-to-back 5+hour mountain bike rides. After that I had a few days to recover before going to the Vail High Altitude Performance Camp, from which I left early to get to another training camp with one of my athletes! Thankfully, I had finally fully recovered from the Amgen Tour of California Race Experience before all this started, and that multi-day ride provided a great training stimulus that has sustained me through this recent block! I’m definitely looking forward to a bit of rest soon, however.

In the middle of my recent on-bike work, we had a great video shoot in our Colorado Springs training facility for the Nissan Innovation for Endurance campaign. We brought in experts from various parts of the endurance training world so they could explain what they do and how their innovations have improved endurance training. I’m really looking forward to seeing the finished products as they get posted online.

One of the experts we brought in was Stacy Sims, a Ph.D. sports science researcher from Stanford. She’s done a great deal of work with hydration and thermoregulation, and there were two short tips she reminded me of:

  1. “You can come back from an energy problem in minutes, but it takes hours to recover from a hydration problem.” This one is hugely important to remember. If you run low on carbohydrates during exercise, the energy from a GU, a sports drink, or a bar can reach your muscles in as little as 10 minutes. But if you’re suffering from the effects of dehydration, it takes hours to completely recover and bring fluid levels in muscles, blood plasma, and intracellular fluid back to normal. So, if you have to prioritize between calories and fluids: choose fluids first (preferably with electrolytes).
  2. For most people, weighing yourself before and after a workout is the most pragmatic method of determining how well you hydrated during a ride, and how much fluid you need to replenish afterward. Just keep in mind that the weakness of this method is that undigested/unabsorbed food and fluid that is still in your stomach or small intestine is counted in that post-workout weight. As a result, your weight can somewhat underestimate your actual fluid loss during exercise. In the end, this just reinforces the idea that you have to really focus on post-workout re-hydration, even if your post-workout bodyweight is nearly identical to your pre-workout weight.

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Weekend Reading and Links:

Have a great Weekend,
Chris Carmichael
CEO/Head Coach
Carmichael Training Systems

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