Eden Morris (@gardenofeden_rd) is a registered dietitian based in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. She’s a former collegiate athlete turned mountain athlete who encourages everyone to eat all the foods in order to climb all the mountains – instead of the other way around.
In this article, Eden breaks down how to design the ideal hydration plan for all your summer adventures.
“They’re a 10, but they avoid sports drinks because they have too much sugar.” - my take on the “they’re a 10, but” TikTok trend.
I’ll admit I had to get over my own fear of sugar in order to perform better as a mountain athlete. Hydration products that contain carbs and electrolytes are created for a purpose – to keep us hydrated in the heat when we’re losing a lot of fluid and electrolytes through sweat!
How heat impacts hydration and training
A 1% loss in body weight during your activity makes the heart beat 3-5x faster/minute. A 2% loss is defined as dehydration, and a 3% loss significantly impacts performance in a negative way! It’s necessary to replace fluid losses with more than just water in order to maintain your blood volume.
Showing up to your activity already hydrated is a great place to start. Here’s a basic fluid intake schedule:
- 2-3 hours before: 16-24 oz of fluid
- 30 minutes before: 8 oz of fluid
- Every 15 minutes during: 4 ounces of fluid
- Immediately after activity: At least 16 oz of fluid for each pound of fluid lost in sweat
Why do I need more than water to hydrate?
One word: Hyponatremia.
Hyponatremia is a condition caused by inadequate sodium in the bloodstream. Side effects include headaches, dizziness, muscle spasms, and in extreme cases, seizures.
If it’s hot where you are, your hydration and electrolyte needs are going to be higher, meaning it’s important to choose hydration products that contain sodium and potassium! Replacing both of these electrolytes will prevent muscular aches, cramps, fatigue, constipation, and/or nausea! Muir’s Hydration Mixes contain both of these electrolytes in addition to simple carbs to give you energy during your activity, especially if you’re like me and you find drinking your fuel sources to be a little easier than eating sometimes!
I personally love the Strawberry Basil Hydration mix - highly recommended for hot mountain bike rides or trail runs.
Hydrating on a bike ride
In addition to carrying water in my hydration pack, I’ll add 2 tbsp of hydration mix and ¼ teaspoon salt to a 16 oz water bottle (I use a little more than the recommended serving since I’m a heavy sweater), shake the bottle vigorously to blend the product.
I sip on water while I’m riding, and at any breaks during my ride, I’m sipping on the hydration mix as well.
As soon as my ride is complete, I finish the remainder of the hydration mix and also consume a snack with carbohydrates and protein within an hour of my ride to start the recovery process.
Final note on hydrating in heat
Don’t rely on thirst cues. Plan out your fueling and hydration to make sure you stay fueled and hydrated! Fuel early, fuel often, and you’ll be good to go!