Drinks: Electrolytes vs. Carbs
Drinks that you make by mixing water with effervescent tablets or powder for your drink bottle can be quickly and easily consumed during your bike ride. This way you stay hydrated, and the drinks are usually well-tolerated. In addition, you can measure out finer doses of the powder and thus adjust the drink to your taste, your needs and your level of intensity. Speaking of intensity, when you’re doing shorter intense workouts, it's not essential to replenish your glycogen stores with carbohydrates. During activities that clock in at an hour or less, the glycogen in your muscles does not decrease as much. For such sessions, you can choose powders that contain no carbohydrates. These are designed to balance your electrolyte levels. Electrolytes, which consist of minerals such as potassium, sodium, calcium or magnesium, regulate nerve and muscle function as well as acid, water and alkaline balance in the body. The body cannot produce electrolytes itself; rather, they are absorbed through various foods. When you’re moving a lot and really working up a sweat, your body loses these minerals. Electrolyte- or mineral-rich drinks supply them to your body again. For longer periods of exertion, you can choose blends or powders which contain both electrolytes and carbohydrates. In general, it is important that you drink a little on a regular basis to compensate for the loss of fluids and thus prevent a drop in performance. This can also be normal water if you take in enough carbohydrates and electrolytes by way of gels and bars.