The Importance of Hydration When Indoor Cycling
Indoor cycling is a lot of fun, and I believe when you’re on the spin bike or turbo trainer, you have a choice. You can either have fun and enjoy it or suffer. Having fun is going prepared and smashing the cycling session, feeling confident the whole way through. Suffering is when you turn up unprepared and just not enjoying it. You would be surprised at how managing your hydration can be the difference between the two. Staying hydrated is vital for indoor training, and in this article, were going to tell you why.
What is Hydration?
Hydration is basically managing your water level intake. This isn’t just in indoor cycling but in life in general. Staying hydrated has some huge advantages, and if you don’t keep on top of it, you can really suffer. Our bodies are 60% water, and even by losing 10%, could we be putting ourselves in a very vulnerable situation.
How much Fluid do we need to Drink?
Depending on where you live, the health standard will be different, but in the US, they recommend roughly that a man will have 2 liters a day and women 1.6 liters per day. This can hugely change depending on many factors, such as the climate you live in, your body weight, metabolism, if you exercise, and even what you eat makes a difference.
It’s a very personal thing, and finding the right amount for your body is very challenging. They say if you are thirsty, you’re already too late and should have drunken before that point. The advantages are enormous of staying hydrated, and spending some time experimenting to find the right amount is worth doing. Always allow extra water for training and make sure not to drink too much water though, as this can also have adverse effects.
What happens when we start dehydrating while cycling indoors?
You’re on the bike and feeling ready to go, the training session is heavy intervals, and the exercise intensity will be high. You have warmed up and realized that you have forgotten your water bottle, then you think to yourself, do I need to get off the spin bike and get some water? But you decide not to and think your hydration levels will be ok. What happens to our bodies when we don’t stay hydrated?
Your Core Temperature Rises
When we start exercising, the core temperature starts ramping up, and to stay cool, the body begins to sweat. The body starts sweating and releasing water and salt, and toxins. Your body’s optimum temperature is roughly 37 degrees while exercising, and it wants to be there.
You start to feel thirsty
At this point, you are a little bit into your spin bike workout, and you could use a drink. You’re starting to feel thirsty, and the indoor training session is getting harder and harder. What would you give for a sports drink right now? Unfortunately, you’re way too late, not at any point in a session should you feel thirsty. You need to be ahead of the game and catch it before it catches you.
Your body starts to suffer
Your body starts running out of essential minerals, and now you begin to feel the struggle because you’re dehydrated. The body cannot release the toxins, and the body is starting to struggle to maintain the correct core body temperature. It’s craving minerals, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and many more. Now because it hasn’t got what it needs, your muscles are starting to cramp, and you’re starting to feel uncomfortable.
You Performance Decreases
With you not providing your body what it needs, you now have the issue that your performance is starting to suffer. The heart rate starts to rise, and your start to feel like you are struggling more and more as time goes by. The power figures drop, and you just become inefficient.
You start to lose focus
If you don’t stay on top of hydration while training indoors, you have the issue of not just losing performance physically but also mentally. You can start to feel demotivated, and you just want to stop and finish the session early.
Your body looks elsewhere for water
Now your body is struggling, and it wants to find water elsewhere. It goes straight to your body to see what it can find. It wants to focus on protecting your organs, so it will take water from wherever it can and send it there. So it now starts going to your digestion track, where it will slow down your digestion to use that blood to protect your organs. This will come in the form of stomach cramps, and it can also cause nausea.
You get to the end of the workout, and you feel awful. Your body is suffering, and the first thing we do is head straight to the fridge because we are actually feeling not just thirsty but starving. Our appetite is in overdrive, and with all those burned calories, you end up throwing a load of food in and undoing the good work we have done.
Cycling Tips to stay Hydrated
It doesn’t have to be fully regimented when it comes to staying hydrated. Just a few tips and tricks can get you on your way to keeping that fluid intake where it needs to be. Here’s our guide to indoor training and staying hydrated.
1. Stay more hydrated generally not just when you are doing spinning workout
By generally staying more hydrated in life, you will find your session much more manageable. I recommend having a drink of water before every meal or even setting alarms throughout the day to ensure that you are drinking enough water.
2. Drink little and often not all at once when you are on the bike or off the bike
When you train indoors, it’s much harder on the body to drink all your water at once. Drinking little and often, you can give your body water much more regularly, and it will thank you for this. If you are to sink it all at once halfway through a session, you might already be dehydrated and, with the heavy load on your stomach, give yourself a stitch.
3. Use Electrolyte Drink and Sports Drinks When Cycling Indoors
Using special sports drinks will be so beneficial to your indoor training session. These drinks can have such a positive effect. As the sweat rate builds up and the body sweats to keep cool, you need to replace those lost electrolytes. Drinking water will help but having an electrolyte drink will not improve the blood volume with just water but also those minerals your body is craving while removing the salty sweat.
4. Stay hydrated after your spin bike workout session
Many riders see a lot of benefits from staying hydrated after. By drinking water after a session, you will help the recovery process, and even just plain water will do. It will give those working muscles a helping hand. Your body is still in overdrive for about 30 minutes after, so minimalize those fluid losses.
5. Get the right Ambient Temperature While Cycling Indoors
When training indoors, it is essential you are helping your body stay cool. Having the room nice and cool or using a cycling fan will reduce the sweat rate and help your body with its processes while doing the indoor session. It will reduce fluid loss and further avoid dehydration and staying well hydrated.
Many cyclists, indoor or outdoor, neglect drinking enough, and dehydrated riding can, as you now know, leads to some pretty awful negatives. Keeping fluids on board in your sessions and training effectively can completely change that ride. Also, remember to take the right nutritions before, during, and after every indoor cycling sessions. Get on the bike and enjoy your workout.