The longer you cycle, the more you realize that sports drinks are essential to your cycling rides. They have also known for long that drinking water is extremely crucial for any cycling rides. But in order to take cycling to the next level and making it more efficient, consuming sports drinks is inevitable. This is exactly why professional cyclists can be seen drinking sports drinks all the time, other than water.
Are sports drinks really useful? Yes. It might not be beneficial for beginner cyclists who cycle small distance. For example, a 50-mile ride is considered a long ride. But first, you have to get your facts clear on glycogen.
Glycogen is a type of compound which is found in your liver and muscles. Glycogen is energy for your body. Your muscles simply cannot function without it. When you go for long cycling rides, your glycogen level will decrease. Given the rider puts in his maximum effort for 3 hours straight when cycling, he or she will deplete his glycogen reserve and “hit the wall” or bonk. The terms “hit the wall” and bonk is akin to losing all energy. Therefore, sports drinks are essential to replace those needed energy.
Sports drinks can help to maintain your glycogen level. But how much should you drink? The answer to that question is 6 percent of glucose for every 20 minutes or so. In other words, you have to consume 500 to 700 milliliters of sports drinks every hour. That can be a little costly for some people. But there are simply no other ways.
Sports drinks contain simple and complex carbohydrates. These two carbohydrates are then broken down into glycogen for your cycling muscles. Another benefit of drinking sports drinks is that they encourage you to drink more water.
The reason is sports drinks also contain sodium. Sodium combined with glucose will encourage the absorption rate of water for your intestines. Therefore, another important ingredient is sodium. Salt is the similar term to sodium. But if you look carefully at most sports drinks, they do not have sufficient sodium percentage.
The solution to this problem is to stock up on your salt or sodium storage before cycling. Eat salty foods and consume drinks that are filled with electrolyte before starting your ride.
There are a ton of different sports drinks out there. How to choose one? A good advice is to look at the nutritional values and see if it contains the necessary ingredients; simple carbohydrates, complex carbohydrates and sodium. These three would be sufficient. Then you just have to experiment by using your stomach. If it feels good after drinking a specific sports drink brand, then stick with it.