The Power of Water Balance Whilst Cycling

Often overlooked and easily not taken seriously is water or the principal of hydration. Water as you may know plays an absolutely integral role in our ability to function and live but how much can we lose before it’s a problem.


How much is a problem?
A loss of water of 2% our bodyweight will already see us having a detriment in performance, so if you’re 75kg and out for a 4hour weekend ride and lose 1.5kgs of water weight you could see that performance plummet towards the end of that right. Something to look out for longer winter turbos, warm weather training camps and summer


What if I lose more than 2%?
Losing more you in line with high electrolyte loss you may feel weak, lethargic, nauseated, bloated, confused, or developing muscle cramps, a headache, slurred speech, or swollen hands and feet during or after prolonged exercise can be symptoms of dehydration and hyponatremia (severe loss of electrolytes).


How can I work out how much I lose?
To make sure you know how much you’re losing you can do a basic sweat rate test. A turbo works well for this as it’s a controlled environment but it’s best to do it on what you do more of.

  • First off weigh yourself without clothes before the ride
  • Take a controlled amount of water and ensure you drink all of it over the ride
  • Add any food or gel weight you have
  • After the ride strip down, dry yourself off and weigh in again

Using the two weigh-ins we can work out your sweat rate at that rides given intensity, over that duration and at that climate.

I.e if you weighed in at 75kg before a 1-hour ride and 73kg after but also had 1x 500ml water during then you lose 2.5kgs of water in 1 hour.

This makes staying less then 2% dehydrate easier and know our performance or well-being shouldn’t be affected.


Here’s a 3% solution hydration drink is optimised to prioritise fluid absorption.

Homemade energy drink

  • 600ml water
  • 12-18g Sugar or maltodextrin
  • 1g salt or 1 electrolyte tab ~400mg sodium
  • Citrus juice

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