Hammer Nutrition Blog

Interview with Kelly Agnew on setting the FKT on the White Rim Trail

Posted by Myke Hermsmeyer on 04/01/2014 in News | No Comments »

FKT (Fastest Known Time) attempts have risen to prominence in recent years, with many athletes preparing for them with the same focus as they would a race. Ultra runner Kelly Agnew recently set his sights on running the White Rim Trail, a 100-mile jeep road (with 7 miles of pavement) in the Islands in the Sky district of Canyonlands National Park, near Moab, Utah. On March 8th, 2014 fueled by Hammer Nutrition products Kelly ran the White Rim Trail in 17:47:25, breaking the previous record of 18:43:22 set by Peter Bakwin in 2006.

So what made you decide to try and set the FKT on the White Rim Trail?

I was intrigued by the White Rim Trail because of the distance and location. I love running in Moab and when I found out the trail was almost exactly 100 miles long, I got excited by the possibilities. When I researched the FKT history, I was intimidated by the existing record and knew I would have to have a nearly flawless run if I had any hope of beating it. The fact that it was a challenge also fueled my desire to give it a try.

How did you end up feeling about your result and effort?

I was concerned early on because I felt overly labored and was worried I was going to burn out before finishing. I really wanted to beat the current record but I also wanted to drop the FKT by a significant margin. To be honest, I was pretty stressed out for most of the run. I’m happy with the finish time but I can reflect back and see a lot of opportunities to do better.

 What was the most difficult part of the attempt?

 The monotony. The scenery in Canyonlands is beautiful but it never changes. I could see the same landmarks off in the distance for hours and sometimes I felt like I wasn’t making any progress at all. It was a huge mental challenge.

What fueling or nutrition advice would you offer to someone looking to do a similar FKT attempt?

Bring more than you think you’ll need. I fueled almost exclusively on Hammer gels and managed my electrolytes with Endurolyte Fizz, but I also brought a wide variety of other products in case I started having other cravings during the run. For example, I had my Perpetuem on hand in case I started having issues with the gel. 

What other gear did you need for the attempt?

I planned to meet Jo at frequent intervals, so this allowed me to use a single handheld bottle. I use the Hammer Purist bottles and I slip them into whatever bottle carries I have on hand. I also brought my Osprey Rev 6 hydration pack in case something happened and I needed to run longer without crew support, but that never happened. I was wearing Hammer’s cool-tee running shirt and new moisture-wicking Jackrabbit running hat. 

Anything you’d do differently if you were to take on this FKT again?

I would add another crew member. I put a lot of pressure on my wife during the run because she was committed to staying fully awake during my attempt. There were several dangerous sections of road that she had to navigate all on her own and I know she was getting pretty frazzled at times. If I had known the conditions in advance, I never would have put her through all that.

You and Jo (your wife and crew member) seem to make a great team. What does it take to be a good crew member for ultra races or FKT attempts?

 I say this all the time, but I think my wife is the best crew person in the business and I’m very fortunate to have her. To do that kind of work, a person has to be completely selfless. There aren’t any buckles, trophies or accolades for the crew, so they have to be there and be totally committed to their runner and have the ability to find satisfaction in helping them succeed. Jo and I spend a tremendous amount of time planning for my runs and races. We develop written race plans that are very detailed and we run through every possible race day scenario. She manages the entire event for me and she always knows what needs to be done. She’s a total pro.

Kelly and Jo at the 2014 Coldwater Rumble 100

What advice would you offer to someone planning their first FKT attempt?

Plan well. A lot of these courses are very remote and you’re on your own. Spend a lot of time researching the route. Find run reports, maps and videos on YouTube. Scour every resource and plan for every eventuality. Do this with your entire crew so everyone knows what to expect and keep a focus on safety. A lot of things can go wrong and good preparation can keep everyone safe.

 

Any other attempts in the works?

Definitely. I plan to return to the White Rim Trail this fall and run it in an attempt to set the unsupported record. In this attempt, I won’t be allowed to have a crew at all, which is going to be extremely challenging because there’s no reliable water source anywhere on the route. I’ll have to carry a lot of gear and fuel to complete that run all by myself. I have another FKT attempt that I’m putting together right now, but it needs to be kept under wraps until a few details are confirmed. I’m looking forward to an epic year and these FKT attempts really compliment my racing.

 

 

You can read more about Kelly’s White Rim Trail FKT over on his blog or listen to his interview over at Gear:30′s website.

 

 

ANNOUNCING NEW HAMMER PRODUCTS: CLEAR DAY AND NASOL!

Posted by admin on 01/31/2014 in Hot Tips,News,Nutrients for Health,Products | No Comments »

From Steve Born:

 

Clear Day – Potent ammunition against allergies 

Clear Day
Allergy sufferers, rejoice! Clear Day is here, and it’s ready to provide fast, effective, long-lasting relief from your worst allergy symptoms. A capsule or two of Clear Day is all it takes, and you’ll no longer have to deal with the unpleasantness of:

• Wheezing with nearly every breath you take

• Rubbing burning, itching, watery eyes

• Constantly blowing your nose

With these bothersome allergy symptoms now out of the way, not only will you be able to train and race more productively, it’ll be much more enjoyable.

An estimated 4 out of 10 endurance athletes suffer from seasonal allergenic reactions, so chances are you’re at risk for having to deal with the undesirable symptoms described earlier. And they’re not only a major discomfort, they negatively affect athletic performance as well. Researchers Komarow and Postolache state, “As a result of the increase in ventilation during exercise, athletes in particular experience significant symptoms of allergy triggered by exposure to aeroallergens. The allergic response causes nasal and conjunctival congestion, tearing, breathing difficulties, pruritus [itching], fatigue, and mood changes, which affect athletic performance.”

The solution is Clear Day. Its unique, all-natural formula of olive leaf extract, quercetin, bromelain, and resveratrol possesses powerful antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antiviral, and antihistamine properties. Its wide-ranging actions help prevent airborne allergies from occurring, while also providing fast-acting and effective relief for numerous allergy discomforts. When allergy season arrives, or anytime throughout the year when allergy symptoms occur, take control with Clear Day! 

 

Nasol – Put the power of the pepper to work for you! 

Nasol

Whether it’s due to colds, allergies, or numerous other reasons, nasal congestion affects us all at some point. A stuffy nose not only makes exercising significantly more difficult, it can disrupt your entire day and negatively impact the quality of your sleep. No more! Use Nasol—it’ll clear up your sinuses quickly so you can enjoy breathing more freely.

Additionally, if you’ve ever had a migraine, you know that very few things will stop you in your tracks and ruin your day faster; the pain is that oppressive. Good news! Nasol is also highly effective at alleviating migraine headaches, and you won’t have to wait for slow-acting medications to start working to experience relief . . . Nasol goes to work FAST!

Nasol is the perfect complement to Clear Day, helping to alleviate other unpleasant symptoms caused by allergies. As soon as you feel the first hint of allergy-related problems coming on, take a dose of Clear Day and give each nostril a spray of Nasol. Rapid relief is on the way!

 

 

For more info see the product pages for Clear Day and Nasol on Hammer’s website in our “Well Being” section.

 

 

Do female athletes performing at levels similar to males have the same nutrient requirements?

Running on Mount Jumbo

From Steve Born:

Our position is that a person’s vitamin/mineral needs are based more on body weight, activity level, and other factors, more so versus one’s gender. Generally speaking, there is very little, if any difference between a female athlete’s nutrient requirements and a male’s, aside from the aforementioned body weight, exercise intensity, and other variables (e.g. specific health issues that may require more nutrient support).

A couple nutrients that most-to-all women — athlete and non-athlete alike — may need (key word “may”) more than male athletes:

1) Calcium – The Optimum Daily Intake (ODI) for both men and women is between 1,000 and 1,500 mg/day, and if a woman — especially one over the age of 50 — is consuming the upper end of that recommendation, she will be meeting her daily calcium needs. The only variation in calcium needs (men vs. women) that I have noted is the National Institute of Health’s recommendation of 1,000 mg of calcium for men age 50-71 and 1,200 mg for women age 50-71.

2) Iron – Women lose iron through menstruation, thus needing more iron than men. Ditto for pregnant women. Ditto for older women, primarily because men tend to absorb iron more efficiently, and store it more thoroughly, then women. That’s why the ODI for men is within a range of 15-25 mg for men, and 18-30 mg for women. All this said, the overwhelming majority of people — both male and female — consume far more than the ODI amounts from their food. The consumption of too much iron is particularly problematic in that excess iron generates massive free radical reactions. According to one source, “Human epidemiological studies show that those with high iron levels are far more likely to contract cancer and heart disease. A growing body of evidence implicates iron in neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease.”

So while iron is indeed a very important nutrient, too much of this particular mineral can present some very serious issues. This is why Premium Insurance Caps (and most other multivitamin/mineral supplements) do not contain iron, and it’s why we do not recommend that iron supplements be taken unless a blood test reveals a deficiency. More information on this topic can be found in the article “Iron – Yes or No?” 

Running on Mount Jumbo

3) When you look at the amount of nutrients in a 7-capsule dose and compare them to the Daily Value (DV) amount, you’ll see that most of them exceed this standard percentage-wise. This is because we don’t calibrate the product to the minimally needed DV amounts (or RDI/RDA amounts), but rather ODI amounts, which we believe are more appropriate. This is detailed in the article “Supplementation – A Necessity for Athletes”. In one section, entitled, “The Recommended Daily Intake: Recommended for what?,” I was given permission by Dr. Shari Lieberman and Nancy Bruning (the creators of the ODI standards), to reprint a portion of their book (which I highly recommend, BTW… great book). Here is that portion of the article…

The Recommended Daily Intake: Recommended for what?
The Reference Daily Intake standard (formerly known as the Recommended Daily Allowance, or RDA) doesn’t take into account the higher needs of endurance athletes. Dr. Misner states, “Researchers have established that athletes tend to deplete vitamins, minerals, enzymes, coenzymes, and other substrates more than sedentary people do.” It’s not just more calories that endurance athletes need; it’s the whole nutritional bag.

Moreover, conventional standards are tuned to deficiency avoidance rather than optimal health, so it’s questionable whether anyone should rely on them. In The Real Vitamin & Mineral Book: Using supplements for optimum health, 4th ed. (New York: Avery Publishing Group, 2007), Shari Lieberman, Ph.D., and Nancy Bruning devote a chapter to outlining the benefits of using a higher-dose vitamin/mineral supplementation regimen. I think the title of this particular chapter, “The RDIs – The Minimum Wages of Nutrition,” pretty much says it all. No one spells it out better than Lieberman and Bruning in their book, one that I highly recommend:

Just like the RDAs, the RDIs have three basic problems: (1) you cannot get all of the nutrients you need from today’s food; (2) the RDIs reflect amounts that are adequate to prevent nutrient-deficiency diseases, and are not tailored for individual needs; and (3) the RDIs do not address or consider optimum health or the prevention of degenerative diseases such as cancer and heart disease.”

In another chapter, “The Optimum Daily Intakes (ODIs),” they write:

In order to attain a state of optimum health and disease prevention, we must take into our bodies optimum–not minimum–amounts of vitamins and minerals. To distinguish them from the lesser amounts characteristic of the RDIs, I have called these amounts the Optimum Daily Intakes, or ODIs. The need for ODIs is based on six factors:

  • The RDIs are generally based on an amount that simply prevents overt deficiency diseases.
  • The RDIs do not take into account preventative or therapeutic levels of nutrients.
  • We cannot meet the RDIs even if we eat the “perfect” diet.
  •  Because of many factors, including the loss of nutrients through shipping, storage, and processing, the foods available to us do not contain the amounts of vitamins and minerals they should contain.
  • Owing to the constant bombardment of stress factors, from pollution to emotional stress, we require higher levels of vitamins and minerals than originally thought.
  • We do not absorb 100% of the vitamins and minerals in foods and supplements.

Are you convinced yet that you need to supplement? Remember, Dr. Lieberman has regular human welfare in mind, and not the even higher demands of endurance athletes.

4) Going back to my earlier statement: “When you look at the amount of nutrients in a 7-capsule dose and compare them to the Daily Value (DV) amount, you’ll see that most of them exceed this standard percentage-wise,” you’ll notice that the amounts of calcium and magnesium are lower than the DV recommendations. This is simply because the DV values are so high that it’s not practical (or even possible) to fit this much calcium and magnesium into a capsule that isn’t massively sized. So for these two minerals, supplementing with additional calcium and magnesium from another product is something I consider to be worthwhile.

5) Also, though 7 capsules of Premium Insurance Caps contain 500 mg of vitamin C (834% of the DV), I always supplement with more vitamin C— an additional 1,000 – 2,000 mg daily in divided doses—on a daily basis. I usually take an additional 1,000 – 2,000 mg daily in divided doses. Same thing for vitamin D. Though the amount of vitamin D in 7 capsules of Premium Insurance Caps (500 IU) is 125% of the DV, a huge body of ever-growing research suggests that much more than that is necessary for optimal health… it can be anywhere from 1,000 IU to 10,000 IU (sometimes more). The general consensus is 1,000 – 2,000 IU of vitamin D per day, though a specific blood test (Vitamin D, 25-Hydroxy) will let an individual know how much vitamin D they need to take to reach optimal vitamin D levels. Dr. Michael Holick, arguably the premier nutritional scientist on all things vitamin D-related, states: “I think you need to maintain your 25-hydroxyvitamin D level above 30 ng/mL. For my patients and for me personally, I like for it to be between 40-60 ng/mL of 25-hydroxyvitamin D to guarantee vitamin D sufficiency and its health benefits.”

Running on Mount Jumbo

Conclusion

While there is “no one size fits all” amount(s) in terms of nutrient requirements, in general — aside from the few nutrients mentioned earlier — male and female nutrient needs are very similar. Body weight, activity level, and specific nutrient needs addressing health issues, are the primary factors in determining how much nutrient support you require. Formulated with Optimum Daily Intake (ODI) amounts, Premium Insurance Caps covers the wide-ranging nutrient needs of both male and female athletes/active people, and much more thoroughly than multivitamin/mineral products that contain extremely low Reference Daily Intake (RDI), Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA), or Daily Value (DV) amounts of nutrients.

 

Runners shown in this blog are Anna Zielaski, Daniel Zielaski and Cory Kaufman. Photos provided by Myke Hermsmeyer.

Supplement Bashing – Enough is Enough!

Written by Hammer Nutrition’s Steve Born:

A recent editorial published in the Annals of Internal Medicine has mainstream media in a frenzy once again. When there’s a no-punches-pulled headline of “Enough is Enough: Stop Wasting Money on Vitamin and Mineral Supplements,” and a doctor involved in the editorial is quoted stating, “Most supplements do not prevent chronic disease or death, their use is not justified, and they should be avoided,” you can bet it’s going to garner front page coverage.

But that’s exactly where the problem lies. The blunt anti-vitamin/mineral stance taken in this editorial is based primarily on the analysis of two recent studies, and on the premise “that most supplements do not prevent chronic disease or death.” That’s exactly right, supplements are not meant to do that; they’re not a “cure all” for diseases. Instead, the nutrients in vitamin/mineral supplements help bridge the gap between what our diets supply nutrient-wise and what we should really be obtaining for optimal health.

We believe that this editorial, with its broad-stroke condemnation of vitamins, presents a distinctly one-sided and inaccurate viewpoint, one that doesn’t bother to take into account the established benefits of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. As a result, we consider this editorial to be a disservice to all individuals desiring to make educated decisions in their goal of enjoying optimal health. When you review some of the flaws about the studies involved, we believe you’ll agree that the sensible use of vitamin/mineral supplements is not a waste of money at all.

 What you didn’t hear in the news

There are significant issues in the studies that didn’t get mentioned in any of the news media’s articles. One of the studies involved about 6,000 male doctors 65 years and older and analyzed the effects of vitamin supplementation on cognitive function. At the end of the study, researchers concluded that there was no difference between those who took vitamins and those who took a placebo. Here are the primary problems associated with this study:

1)    The multivitamin used contained extremely low and inadequate amounts of nutrients, such as a mere 60 mg of vitamin C, 50 mg of vitamin E (a poorly absorbed, synthetic vitamin E at that), and 25 mcg of vitamin B12. With such minimal amounts, significant health benefits cannot realistically be expected. Even the researchers took note of that, stating that the “doses of vitamins may be too low.” Still, in spite of the fact that low-potency vitamins were used, after 2.5 years of supplementation, cognitive function was improved as compared to placebo. However, the difference wasn’t statistically significant, which is perhaps why it wasn’t mentioned in any of the news reports.

2)    The standards in terms of adherence were far too relaxed. Study subjects who took the multivitamin just three-quarters of the time were deemed to have properly adhered to the study protocol. Think about that . . . even if they only took the multivitamin 3 out of 4 weeks—missing a full 7 days monthly— that was acceptable in terms of being adherent. How can any reliable conclusions about supplement efficacy, or lack thereof, be formed when a portion of the study subjects are only using the product a portion of the time?

Additionally, instead of requiring participants to provide specific documentation with any frequency, returning any unused product so that its contents can be counted to see how much was actually taken, or other more reliable methods to accurately measure compliance, the participants were simply asked to recall from memory how frequently they used the multivitamin supplement. Compared to the aforementioned methods, a recollection-based-only approach in acquiring data is a less reliable way to truly quantify study participants’ adherence to a study protocol.

A second study involved over 1,700 subjects with an average age of 65 who had suffered a heart attack. The objective was to “assess whether oral multivitamins reduce cardiovascular events and are safe.” Study participants were given either a multivitamin or a placebo, and were monitored for nearly 4.5 years for “cardiovascular events” such as a recurrent heart attack or stroke. At the completion of this time period it was concluded that, “High-dose oral multivitamins and multiminerals did not statistically significantly reduce cardiovascular events in patients after MI [Myocardial Infarction] who received standard medications. However, this conclusion is tempered by the nonadherence rate.”

Take special notice of that last sentence because it brings to light a serious flaw in the study–a whopping 46% of the study subjects did not adhere to the vitamin supplementation regimen! How can any logical and definitive conclusions be made when nearly half of the study subjects don’t follow the protocol? Yet it is the very conclusions of this study that are partially responsible for the blanket statement that, “Most supplements do not prevent chronic disease or death, their use is not justified, and they should be avoided.”

Additionally, there were more diabetics in the multivitamin group than in the group receiving the placebo. Considering that diabetes is one of the major risk factors for cardiovascular disease, it’s logical to assume that those who had a higher rate of diabetes at baseline would be at a higher risk of experiencing a “cardiovascular event.” When the playing field isn’t level, so to speak, it can bias the results, which it may very well have done in this particular study.

Lastly, take note of the study conclusions: “High-dose oral multivitamins and multiminerals did not statistically significantly reduce cardiovascular events…” The reason this is true is because a 25% reduction in cardiovascular risk was required to conclude that multivitamins provide effective cardiovascular benefits. As one nutritional scientist remarked, “… the investigators constructed the study so as to ignore anything short of miraculous cardiovascular risk reduction, so the conclusion drawn questions multivitamin benefits.”

 Summary

We do not believe that optimal health comes solely from a bottle of vitamins; it takes a multi-faceted approach to maximize one’s health. Regular exercise, the best possible diet, stress management, and other factors need to be employed as well. And while we adamantly do not believe that taking a handful of supplements ever takes the place of the consumption of the highest quality diet possible, we remain convinced that supplementation is a necessity for three primary reasons:

 

  1. A growing body of research shows that food alone does not supply all of the micronutrients we need to prevent deficiency, let alone achieve optimal health.[1, 2] 
  2. Even if we could obtain all the nutrients we need from our diet, most people do not consume a healthy diet, eating highly processed foods instead 
  3. Numerous studies have shown that the soil crops are now grown in has become depleted in nutrients, resulting in less nutritious produce. Additionally, much of what we eat comes from foods grown far away, picked when unripe, and then sent packing. Nutritional content is thus further depleted. 
  4. A USDA report [3] shows that a sizeable portion of the American population has inadequate intakes of numerous vitamins and minerals. This report is over a decade old, so it’s logical to suggest that an even greater percentage of Americans may not be getting sufficient amounts of nutrients from their diet.

 

[1] www.hammernutrition.com/downloads/diet_deficiencies.pdf

[2] www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17101959?dopt=AbstractPlus

[3] www.ars.usda.gov/SP2UserFiles/Place/12355000/pdf/0102/usualintaketables2001-02.pdf

 

Alarmist headlines and stories that demonize the use of supplements isn’t anything new. However, we do not believe that this recent editorial, with its overly generalized and blunt stance to “stop wasting money on vitamin and mineral supplements,” provides anywhere near sufficient evidence to merit such a recommendation. Now that you have both sides of the story, we think you’ll agree.

The Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN) provides more alternate points of view on this particular topic at crnusa.org/AIMresponses13.html. We highly recommend reading their statements and watching the short videos.

The Rut: A True Montana Mountain Run

Posted by Myke Hermsmeyer on 12/08/2013 in News | No Comments »

Run The Rut 50K: Big Sky, Montana from eli weiner on Vimeo.

Registration for 2014 is now open.

The Rut 50k and 12k in Big Sky, Montana is an epic mountain run put on by race directors Mike Foote and Mike Wolfe and presented by The Runners Edge. Hammer Nutrition has been happy to support many Runners Edge events over the years and are especially excited for the inclusion of The Rut to their lineup. All four aid stations were stocked with Hammer Nutrition products and Hammer’s new Peanut Butter Gel even premiered at the event. The Rut is looking to come back bigger and better in 2014 and was recently selected as the Skyrunner World Series Ultra Final and is also part of the U.S. Skyrunning Series. If you’re an ultra runner who lives for technical terrain and The Rut isn’t on your radar for 2014 you have no idea what you’re missing.

The below report is a composite of write-ups contributed by Race Director Mike Foote, Montana Trail Crew’s race preview, and race reports from 4th place Jeremy Wolf and 7th place Jeff Rome. Photos were taken by Hammer’s Myke Hermsmeyer.

The Rut Mtn. Runs 50K and 12K, held in Big Sky, MT on September 14th, challenged runners with technical terrain, a strong dose of altitude, and a generous helping of challenging weather in it’s inaugural year. This, however, did not stop the close to 400 event participants from enjoying a day of pushing their limits in a serious mountain environment.  At 6:30 a.m., as runners milled about the start line in the Big Sky Resort base area, a steady rain fell and the dim light revealed a low hanging cloud layer enshrouding the upper reaches of Lone Peak and the 50K course.

Packet pickup in the Big Sky Resort facilities.
Photo: Myke Hermsmeyer

Mike Foote holds the pre-race meeting inside before racers brave the rainy start.
Photo: Myke Hermsmeyer

Paying homage to the races namesake (which highlights the prolific population of elk in rut during the fall season) the sounding of an elk bugle from an invisible Mike Wolfe decked out in camo signaled the race was on.

Mike Wolfe and Luke Nelson before the race.
Photo: Myke Hermsmeyer

Racers lining up at the base of Big Sky Mountain Resort.
Photo: Myke Hermsmeyer

And they’re off!
Photo: Myke Hermsmeyer

“We worked hard, when designing this course, to make it as challenging and dynamic as possible,” shared race director Mike Foote.  “We integrated steep singletrack climbs, rocky ridgeline descents, off trail travel through a talus field, as well as a fair amount of runnable smooth trail to give the racers a breather before the next challenging section.”

Watch the race directors preview The Rut course.

“Skyrunner’s ethos,” Wolfe explains, “is to design the purest mountain running races on aesthetic terrain, extremely technical, with loads of vertical relief. . . . That’s the type of terrain that most appeals to us as runners – adventure in the mountains.” 


The Rut 50K by the Numbers:

Distance: 31 Miles / 50K
Elevation Gain: 10,000 ft / 3,040 Meters
Elevation Loss: 10,000 ft / 3,040 Meters
60% Single Track
30% Dirt Road
10% Off Trail

“The first climb was nice single track through the forest up to the 4k point. At the top of the climb, there is a sharp right turn off the service road which I missed.  Fortunately a few guys behind me shouted to let me know I missed the turn.  After the race, I learned that winner Paul Hamilton had missed this turn as well and had added a few extra minutes to his day.”-Jeremy Wolf

Racers nearing the top of the first climb.
Photo: Myke Hermsmeyer

“Back onto some great single track, it was a long gradual downhill through Moonlight Basin for the next 10k.  This was a really enjoyable section of the course to run.  Hopping over puddles while taking in smells of a damp forest brought a smile to my face.  I was able to take my mind off of racing and just enjoy the beauty of my environment while gliding down the mountain.”  -Jeremy Wolf

Photos from the Moonlight Basin aid station and other locations on the course can be found on The Rut’s Facebook page.

“Nine miles into the race, for a hopeful minute, I thought I had gotten off course.  Surely, I would come across someone soon who would tell me I’m running the wrong way.  Surely, I would act upset but be secretly thankful that I now had reason to drop out.  But sure enough, that damn yellow flag showed up and let me know I was still on course.  I kept thinking to myself that it wouldn’t be too bad to get lost, or to get hurt, or to have terrible stomach issues, because then I would have a good reason not to keep running this ridiculous course.” -Jeff Rome

Jeff Rome does a good job hiding he’s in the pain cave.
Photo: Myke Hermsmeyer

“The beauty of the last 1.5k climb up to the Tram Dock is that it is the only out and back section on the course. The out and back section allows you to see all the runners ahead of you as they come back down the road from the Tram Dock.” -Jeremy Wolf

The tram out-and-back from above.
Photo: Myke Hermsmeyer

Racers approaching the tram aid station.
Photo: Myke Hermsmeyer

Jesse Langner leaving the tram aid station with Lone Peak looming.
Photo: Myke Hermsmeyer

Spectators cheer on from the tram aid station.
Photo: Myke Hermsmeyer

The toughest section of the course comes between miles 17.5 and 22, where you might want a free hand to clamber with.  The ascent, at 2,000 feet of climb in less than a mile and half, averages out at a 27% grade. -Jeff Rome

Start of the ridge line climb up Lone Peak.
Photo: Myke Hermsmeyer

Starting the grind up to Lone Peak.
Photo: Myke Hermsmeyer

“Lone Mountain is essentially a giant pile of loose rock.  Under those rocks are more loose rocks, and more loose rocks lurking beneath those.  It’s like a giant pile of sand, where each grain is dinner plate sized and weighs 20 pounds.   Nothing can convince you that the world is a solid place and not falling apart beneath your feet.  There is no trail to follow, only flags (unless the mountain goats eat them).  -Jeff Rome

Jeremy Wolf chasing down Alan Adams on the ridge.
Photo: Myke Hermsmeyer

Katy-Robin Garton with Sprout Films in good spirits on the ridge up Lone Peak.
Photo: Myke Hermsmeyer

Jamie Swartz in the hurt locker.
Photo: Myke Hermsmeyer

Without a proper trail runners followed a string of Runners Edge flags up the mountain.
Photo: Myke Hermsmeyer

The lower section of the ridge climb.
Photo: Myke Hermsmeyer

I was able to tell my distance from other runners not by sight, but by occasional sounds of rocks sliding and tumbling.  There was not running in this section so much as hurriedly trying-not-to-eat-it-and-sliding-shuffling-tumbling my way down the mountain.” -Jeff Rome

Emily Linton scrambles up loose rock above Big Sky Resort.
Photo: Myke Hermsmeyer

The Cycling House’s Anya Wechsler showing off her running chops.
Photo: Myke Hermsmeyer

Dan Pierce getting steep!
Photo: Myke Hermsmeyer

Aaron “Shake n’ Bake” Little scrambling.
Photo: Myke Hermsmeyer

Kaitlin Macdonald from Bozeman on the ridge.
Photo: Myke Hermsmeyer

Babak Rastgoufard, John Fiore and Matt Pagel grouped up on the ridge.
Photo: Myke Hermsmeyer

Casey Weinman nearing the top.
Photo: Myke Hermsmeyer

Topping out on Lone Peak racers were enshrouded by clouds, limiting visibility to about a few dozen yards at times.

Doug Brinkerhoff entering the clouds.
Photo: Myke Hermsmeyer

Spectators waiting for racers at the top of Lone Peak.
Photo: Myke Hermsmeyer

Jeremy Wolf topping out on Lone Peak. Hiking poles helped many racers through this stretch.
Photo: Myke Hermsmeyer

 

Lone Peak aid station.
Photo: Myke Hermsmeyer

Alan Adams heads off into the clouds.
Photo: Myke Hermsmeyer

Matt Shryock was first to reach the top, followed closely by Paul Hamilton and Luke Nelson.

Matt Shryock in the lead topping out on Lone Peak with Paul Hamilton in tow.
Photo: Myke Hermsmeyer

Luke Nelson emerging from the mist in 3rd place.
Photo: Myke Hermsmeyer

“After this, you’re out of the alpine for the rest of the race, and the trails and roads have more secure footing.  The steepest part, however, is just ahead.  It’s funny how all the most difficult parts are in the second half of the race.  One would think it’s a bit sadistic.” -Jeff Rome

“This section of the course provided some of the steepest single track trail of the race. And to make it worse, it was muddy, and I saw numerous slide marks from the runners ahead of me.” -Jeremy Wolf

“From the final aid station on Andesite, it’s downhill, mostly.  There’s a series of very gradual switchbacks, meandering back and forth towards the finish at the Big Sky base.” -Jeff Rome

Emily Kipp on the final descent to the finish.
Photo: Myke Hermsmeyer

Alan Adams nears the finish at the base of Big Sky Resort.
Photo: Myke Hermsmeyer

Cody Stekly nearing the finish with Lone Peak looming behind him.
Photo: Myke Hermsmeyer

After going off course for a short time following the first climb of the day, overall men’s winner Paul Hamilton, of Fort Collins, CO, re-established his lead and controlled the race all the way to the finish in 5 hrs. and 8 min.  Matt Shryock of Missoula, MT, finished in second, with Luke Nelson of Pocatello, ID, cruising into a strong third place. On the women’s side, Erin Phelps of Flagstaff, AZ, won with a time of 6 hrs. and 43 min. holding off second place Kaitlin Macdonald, of Bozeman, MT. Jessica Jakes of Missoula, MT, rounded out the women’s top 3.

2013 The Rut Results:

50K Overall Results

12K Overall Results

Female winner Erin Phelps crossing the finish line.
Photo: Myke Hermsmeyer

Racers were welcomed at the finish line with music, cheering crowds and a hot meal catered by Big Sky Resort.  It was a party atmosphere as the runners stuck around and rang their finishers’ award cowbells for those coming in behind them.

Racers approaching the finish line.
Photo: Myke Hermsmeyer

“For the first time, I actually felt challenged on a course—I genuinely felt proud for each person who crossed the finish line because I know everyone there had to really try to finish.  No other race has done that to me, because no other has been so tough, or so nuts.” -Jeff Rome

Jeff Rome being congratulated by RD Mike Foote at the finish.
Photo: Myke Hermsmeyer

Lamar and Lance Lewis crossing the finish line.
Photo: Myke Hermsmeyer

Racers were greeted at the finish with a custom “The Rut” cowbell.
Photo: Myke Hermsmeyer

Upon finishing the grueling race, Rut 50K’ers echoed this sentiment of race organizers as a “true mountain running experience.”  5 miles of steep and technical alpine ridge line heading up to and down from the 11,166 ft. summit of Lone Peak will give any runner a sense of achievement and adventure. “Usually in races, when I am concerned about going off course, I am not worried about falling off the course!” said one elated 50K finisher.

Sarah Downey at the 12k finish.
Photo provided by Sarah Downey

Winners were rewarded for their hard effort with a little gas money to get back to their home states, a sweet t-shirt showing off a bugling elk, and some legit bragging rights!

The Grand Prize.
Photo: Myke Hermsmeyer

2013 The Rut men’s podium.
Photo: Myke Hermsmeyer

2013 The Rut women’s podium.
Photo: Myke Hermsmeyer

With an eye toward the future, the race directors not only envision The Rut expanding, but becoming a premier U.S. event in the Sky Running Federation World Series of Mountain Running. Talks are underway to develop a Skyrunner-style 3-day festival of mountain running featuring a Vertical Kilometer (a 3,000 foot ascent race in less than 5K to the summit of Lone Mountain) which, along with the marquee 50k, would draw a top international field. Although we can expect the event to grow, the Montana faithful can be assured that the Mikes will keep the event true to its Montana roots: big, beautiful, and rugged. -Montana Trail Crew

Registration for 2014 opens on January 5th, 2014 at 8 AM (MST).

To learn more about The Rut you can visit their website or like their facebook page.

Photos in this blog were provided by Hammer’s Myke Hermsmeyer, who can be followed on Facebook or Instagram. Additional photos from the race from Vo von Sehlen can be found on The Rut’s Facebook page.

Text was provided by Mike FooteMontana Trail Crew, Jeremy Wolf, and Jeff Rome.

David Steele Aims for the Alpine

Paint The Town White: David Steele Season Edit from Jahrig Media on Vimeo.

Who knows how long I’ll paint houses to pay my student loans. How many more trips to new skylines will fit on the odometer. What the changing climate will do to the snow that starts high, fills in the runs from the summit down. And just like the nonsense that will always be there, the freedom and identity found on pair of skis remains steadfast. From Denali to Nelson to the hill I grew up skiing in Montana, there’s certainty. Buzz in the parking lot. Stoke on the skin track. Joy as I’ve ever known it, free as every flake that falls.

Don’t let David Steele’s beard, park tricks and aerial acrobatics fool you. While a prolific park skier (a lot of his recent ski expedition to Denali was paid for by winning rail jams) in recent years David has shifted his focus away from riding lifts to earning his lines by ski touring and mountaineering. A glutton for physically demanding challenges and Type 2 Fun Glacier National Park serves as a perfect playground for David to explore and test his physical limits.

While the physical demands of an alpanist are different than the typical Hammer endurance athlete proper nutrition is no less important. Prolonged exposure to the elements and the need to perform at your peak in a hostile environment with small margins for error means your fueling and rations have to be dialed in. There are no aid stations or medics in the alpine, so carefully planning before a trip and close monitoring of your rations and caloric intake throughout a climb are crucial for success. 

We’ve  found Hammer products shoved into the far reaches of his freezer as he experiments to see what products works best in sub zero temperatures (Perpetuem Solids hold up in a range of conditions, and fruit flavored Hammer Gels tend to hold their viscosity better than other flavors). Fizz and glacier water are a staple in the backcountry, and Premium Insurance Caps are valuable on longer expeditions where well rounded diet is difficult to maintain.

David has some big plans and big mountains on his agenda this winter and we’re excited to see what he’ll be able to accomplish.


To follow David’s trips and adventures this winter follow his blog “Skinning With Bear Spray” or follow him on Instagram or Facebook.

Special thanks to Bobby Jehrig for the great edit.

Zandy Mangold visits Diana Nyad’s 48 hour “Swim for Relief”

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This past September Diana Nyad finally accomplished a goal that has taken her 5 attempts over 35 years achieve; to swim the 110 miles between Cuba and Florida. Hammer Nutrition has been supporting Diana Nyad and her trainer Bonnie Stoll with our products for her last three attempts (notably Sustained Energy, Endurolyte Powder, Hammer Gels and our whey protein). After her momentous feat Diana turned her focus to a 48 hour swim in downtown New York to raise funds for AmeriCares efforts to support Hurricane Sandy victims. Hammer athlete and photographer Zandy Mangold was able to attend the event and let us know about his experience.

From Zandy Mangold:

Diana Nyad was 24 hours into her 48 hour swim by the time I arrived at the temporary, two lane pool floating above Herald Square in New York City. It was one of the first chill days of fall and my first thought was how could Diana’s body deal with the extended exposure to the cold temperature, let alone stay awake and active for the time period.

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Spectators cheer on Diana in downtown New York City as she swims with an Air Force service member. Photo: Zandy Mangold

I briefly met with members of her dedicated and determined crew who seemed as tough and as motivated by the woman they were supporting. Bonnie Stoll, Diana’s trainer, was in charge of the crew and dealt a combination of tenderness and tough love to Diana depending what the situation called for. I was inspired to see two people working purely as one unit, focused on an epic goal.

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Diana’s diligent crew on deck, pictured at night. Photo: Zandy Mangold

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Photo: Zandy Mangold

The athlete was fueled by the crew – literally, as Bonnie spoon fed Diana reaching from the deck to her open mouth like a mother bird to it’s chicks – and the crew drew energy from Diana’s efforts.

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One of Bonnie’s go to fuels for Diana to settle her stomach includes a special blend of Hammer’s Sustained Energy, whey protein, Endurolyte Powder. Photo: Zandy Mangold

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Bonnie checking in on Diana. Photo: Zandy Mangold

The mood was intense and then, suddenly, Richard Simmons voice shot across the pool through the sound system. Decked out in a robe, speedos and flowered swim cap, Richard, had shown up to swim a lap with Diana.

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Richard Simmons making his grand entrance. Looks like Diana’s crew was caught off guard. Photo: Zandy Mangold

Then the two fitness moguls shared a rather emotional lap, reminiscing, and talking about the importance of raising funds and fitness in general. The mutual affection was clear and touching for all to see.

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Photo: Zandy Mangold

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Diana, Richard and triathlete Laurel Wassner sharing a laugh. Photo: Zandy Mangold

I returned after dark to find Diana and the crew pushing harder than ever to get through the night and the cold. It is hard to describe the powerful emotions I felt not as a fellow endurance athlete being able to relate to her struggle, but also as a survivor of Hurricane Sandy. Witnessing Diana’s efforts for a good cause has left me with inspiration in spades.

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Photo: Zandy Mangold

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Diana swimming below the Empire State Building

To learn more about Diana’s “Swim for Relief” and to donate please visit their website. You can also learn more about Diana over on her website or you can follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

Zandy Mangold is a Hammer Nutrition sponsored ultra runner and photographer based in New York City. To see some of his work you can visit his website or follow him on Twitter.

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Zandy Mangold

Marian University Cycling: The 2012- 2013 Overall Team Omnium Champions

By Coach Nate Keck

Photo: Dean Warren Photography
http://deanwarrenphotography.com/

Marian University is one of the top ranked collegiate cycling teams in the country, and to maintain that ranking, the rest of the coaching staff and I do our best to be sure that each athlete, regardless of their level of experience, has access to high-quality training, adequate rest and recovery, top-notch equipment, and the best fuels and supplements we can get our hands on. In the spring of 2013 we teamed up with Hammer Nutrition as sponsor in preparation for Nationals to help make proper fueling and recovery a reality.

The collegiate cycling season starts in August and culminates in early May, with five seasons and national championships in between: track, mountain bike, cyclocross, BMX, and road. With a team of 40 athletes, some racing three, four, or even all disciplines, there is always some activity on the team’s schedule. Teams compete for individual podiums, but the goal is the title of Overall Team Omnium Champion (a culminating award factoring in all five disciplines of cycling across the whole year).

We came to the 2013 USA Cycling Collegiate Road National Championships in Ogden, UT, with 15 athletes, prepared to compete at the highest collegiate level across three days, each racer with their own individual fueling strategy and plan. Each athlete had spent three to four months in conference races, experimenting with fueling strategies to figure out exactly what worked best for them. For many, this included the use of Hammer Bars and Hammer Gel during the longer road race day, and Hammer Gel for the shorter crits and team time trial efforts. Everyone used HEED or Perpetuem during races, as well as Recoverite afterward.

The first day of racing was team time trials, which Marian has traditionally been very strong in. Marian had a men’s and women’s team in the TTT, and both won national titles—a great way to start a long weekend of racing.

Photo: Dean Warren Photography
http://deanwarrenphotography.com/

After victories in the TTT, we knew we would have targets on our backs. The crit men’s and women’s races were both highly contested with 130+ starters in the men’s and 70+ starters in the women’s, but Marian athletes were extremely aggressive all day. We captured 1st and 2nd places in both events, with Colton Barrett winning the men’s race and Adam Leibovitz in second, and Coryn Rivera winning the women’s race with Kaitie Antonneau right behind her.

A grueling road race ended the three-day event. Kaitie took top honors and Coryn placed 2nd out of nearly 80 starters. Adam took 2nd place (out of 165 riders) for the second day in a row, sealing up his individual omnium win. When all was said and done, Hammer Nutritionsponsored Marian University Cycling had secured the title of Overall Team Omnium Champions!

 

Learn more about the Marian University Cycling program over on their website and facebook page.

 

 

EPIC SESSIONS – STEVE BORN’S SUPPLEMENT SUGGESTIONS FOR WORKOUTS AND RACES

Originally posted 06/2011

Details of a supplement program

  1. While fueling (calorie, fluid, and electrolyte) should be the primary focus of all workouts and races, especially epic ones, the incorporation of an intelligent supplement program used prior to, during, and afterward will definitely assist in yielding tremendously positive results.
  2. The supplements suggested for use prior to an epic workout or race can be thought of as a preemptive strike dose, helping to prepare the body for the arduous task ahead, supporting its nutrient needs for the first hour.
  3. The products suggested for use prior to the workout/race and every hour during the workout/race will supply nutrients that, among other things:
    • Support efficient energy production from your calorie and oxyen intake
    • Help neutralize the negative effect of the numerous free radicals that are constantly produced
    • Assist in the removal of excess ammonia and its fatigue-casing effects
    • Aid in the prevention of lean muscle tissue cannibalization
  4. The products suggested for use after the workout/race will supply nutrients whose primary purpose is to:
    • Replenish what has been depleted during the course of the workout/race
    • Help with the muscle-tissue reparation process
    • Support enhanced glycogen synthesis
    • Neutralize free radicals and minimize the damage that they can cause

INTRODUCTION

I put this article together prior to the 2009 Highline Hammer cycling event, in response to the question, “What supplements do you personally take before, during, and after a long, hard ride, an ‘epic’ ride?” Before I go into the details of my supplement program, let me first mention a couple of things:

1. Most of these supplements are ones that I take on a daily basis for general health benefits, though not always in the same amounts that I take for an “epic” ride such as the 130+ mile, mega–climbing Highline Hammer loop through Glacier Park.

2. I take the higher dose of all the supplements on a significantly long ride, such as the Highline Hammer, and I’ll take the lower dose for less intense, less mountainous, shorter–duration rides (say, 3–5 hours).

3. These products, and the amounts listed, are what I use. I’m a pretty big guy (190+ lbs) so the amounts you should consider may be less than that, depending on your weight and activity level. Refer to the updated Product Usage Manual (PDF / 817 KB) (a.k.a. “The Little Red Book”) for suggested dosages.

4. The information I’ve provided in this article—in essence, the rationale for why I take these particular products—is but a sliver of what is available on the products and the nutrients they contain. Consider this information the “Reader’s Digest” version and refer to the Hammer Nutrition website for more detailed information about each of these products.

5. Carrying and consuming lots of pills during a long bike ride is, to some extent, an acquired skill and it may take awhile for your body to “learn” how to take a number of pills on an hourly basis. Additionally, it may be more challenging if you’re doing a more “digestively challenging” type of exercise such as running. If this is the case, simply start slow and increase the number of products you take—and the amounts of each product—gradually. Also, depending on the sport you do, it may be necessary to modify this supplement program in deference to the activity you’re involved in.

6. My hourly intake of each of these supplements, with the exception of Endurolytes, doesn’t change. Therefore, I’ll make “X” number of baggies of these supplements, each baggie containing the identical amounts of each product. I use the small, ziplock bags that are available on the Hammer Nutrition web site to carry the pills, and the amount of baggies I make will, of course, be dependent on how many hours I’ll be out there. Every hour I’ll open up a bag and consume the pills.

7. My dose of Endurolytes oftentimes changes hourly (for example, what I need at 2 p.m. may be higher than what I need at 8 a.m., if only because the weather may be hotter). Therefore, I’ll keep my Endurolytes separate from my zip lock bags of the other supplements. I use the plastic capsule dispenser that is sold on the Hammer Nutrition website to carry Endurolytes, and I’ll dose them as needed.

30–120 Minutes prior to the workout/race

1–2 Race Caps Supreme – This product contains CoQ10 and ibenenone, which are key substrates in the Electron Transport Chain (ETC) process of energy production. Race Caps Supreme also supplies the minerals calcium, magnesium, and potassium. These minerals are chelated to malic acid, citric acid, aspartic acid, lysine, and glycine, most–to–all of which are involved in the Krebs Cycle process of energy production.

CoQ10 and idebenone are also tremendous antioxidants (as is the vitamin E in the product), and I consider taking this product prior to exercise as giving the body a head start on free radical neutralization.

1–2 Mito Caps – The “mitochondrial support product” provides, among other nutrients, acetyl l–carnitine (ALC) and r–alpha lipoic acid (r–ALA).

Among its many benefits, Acetyl l–carnitine (ALC) helps the body use the calories from fatty acids as fuel more efficiently, while also increasing the volume/amounts/activity of key substances that are involved in the complex process of producing energy from your food and oxygen intake.

R–alpha lipoic acid (r–ALA) plays a major role in specific energy–producing functions within the mitochondria. It is also superb antioxidant, with the unique ability to neutralize both water– and fat–soluble based free radicals. Additionally, r–ALA is able to regenerate “used up” antioxidants, thus extending their activity (“shelf life”) in the body. Lastly, r–ALA assists in maintaining proper glucose metabolism.

Bottom Line: When you take Mito Caps you are providing two key nutrients that will help maintain optimal mitochondrial function, which is vital for energy production and overall health.

Thoughts on Mito Caps

“The longer you can stimulate the lifespan or health of the mitochondria, the longer you will live and the better you will perform in endurance events. Endurance athletes should realize how incredibly important it is to effect mitochondria and that everything formulated in this compound influences mitochondria cell biochemistry function synergistically and remarkably”

William Misner, Ph.D. – Direct of Research & Product Development, Emeritus

2–4 Anti–Fatigue Caps – Provides two nutrients—potassium/magnesium aspartate and OKG—that will help neutralize the negative effects of excess ammonia accumulation, which is arguably the primary culprit in premature fatigue.

2–4 Endurance Amino – Provides the primary amino acids—the three branched chain amino acids (a.k.a.BCAAs, l–leucine, l–isoleucine, l–valine) and l–alanine—that are used in the energy cycle during exercise. Plus, the BCAAs in Endurance Amino assist in replenishing depleted glutamine stores while also aiding in the prevention of muscle tissue breakdown. The latter helps to prevent excess fatigue–causing ammonia from being produced and accumulating. Additionally, research has shown that the intake of BCAAs prior to and during exercise may delay exercise–induced or central nervous system–induced fatigue. It is also believed that BCAAs may improve mood and cognitive performance.

On top of that, the reduced (metabolically active) glutathione component in Endurance Amino provides a number of benefits, primarily powerful antioxidant support.

Endurolytes – Provides a balanced supply of necessary electrolytes. Taking this product prior to a lengthy workout or race provides what I call a “pre–emptive strike dose,” meaning that you’re taking care of electrolyte requirements prior to them truly becoming a necessity. This frees you from having to take the product during the first 30–60 minutes of the ride. The dose will be dependent on a variety of factors (weather, fitness levels, acclimatization levels, body weight, etc.), and what you’ve already tested in training.

Every hour during the workout/race, starting at hour #2

1–2 Race Caps Supreme – By taking this product hourly during prolonged exercise you will be “replacing the spark plugs” in the body, helping to ensure more consistent energy production throughout the workout. In addition, you will also be providing the body with powerful protection (via the CoQ10, idebenone, and vitamin E components) against fat–soluble–based free radicals.

1–2 Mito Caps – By taking this product hourly you will be maintaining optimal mitochondrial function, which translates into more efficient energy production and free radical neutralization (the latter, as is the case with the antioxidants in Race Caps Supreme, being especially important for recovery as well). Plus, the r–ALA component in the product helps maintain proper glucose metabolism, which is undoubtedly beneficial during exercise.

2–4 Anti–Fatigue Caps – By taking this product hourly you supply the body with potassium/magnesium aspartate and OKG, which help to neutralize the negative effects of fatigue–causing excess ammonia accumulation.

2–4 Endurance Amino – By taking this product hourly you provide the primary “used–in–the–energy–cycle” amino acids (the BCAAs). The BCAAs in Endurance Amino, along with the BCAAs that naturally occur in the soy protein component in Sustained Energy and Perpetuem, helps prevent the muscle tissue from being broken down to satisfy the 5% – 15% of the body’s energy requirements. The result is less fatigue–causing ammonia to accumulate and less muscle tissue that will be broken down and needing to be repaired during the recovery process.

You also supply the body with l–alanine. The liver can convert l–alanine into glucose as needed (I like to think of it as an “emergency” energy supply), which the bloodstream transports to the muscles for energy. L–alanine also aids in the synthesis of pantothenic acid (vitamin B–5), which is needed for protein, fat, and carbohydrate metabolism.

Lastly, you provide the body with glutathione, which is one of the most potent antioxidants there is, with an Oxygen Radical Absorbency Capacity (ORAC) rating of 12,000+. Dr. Misner writes, “Decline in endurance performance may parallel decline in glutathione concentrations imposed by the aging process.” That alone makes taking glutathione during exercise sound like a very rational idea to me.

Glutathione also facilitates the transport of amino acids which, hypothetically, will assist in directing the amino acids in Sustained Energy and Perpetuem to wherever they’re needed (one athlete reported that taking Endurance Amino is like “supercharging” Perpetuem).

3 Endurolytes (higher amount if weather dictates its necessity) – To keep the body’s “oil reservoir” topped off, which helps maintain the optimal performance of many important bodily functions, in addition to helping prevent cramping.

Special Note: Race Caps Supreme, Mito Caps, and Anti–Fatigue Caps also contain the patented Enzyme Enhancement System”, which helps with the absorption of the nutrients and may also aid in the absorption of the carbohydrate and protein components in the Hammer Nutrition fuels.

After the workout/race is over (with Recoverite)

Premium Insurance Caps – My dose after an “epic” ride is 7 capsules with Recoverite, with 7 capsules taken later with a meal. My typical suggested dose for lighter weight athletes after an “epic” workout is 4–5 capsules with Recoverite and 3–4 capsules taken later with a meal. Premium insurance Caps resupplies the body with the vitamins and minerals that have been depleted during exercise, including some key antioxidants such as beta–carotene, vitamins C and E, and the minerals manganese, selenium, and zinc.

1–2 Race Caps Supreme – For the antioxidant support from CoQ10, idebenone, and vitamin E, all three of which are also tremendous “heart health” nutrients.

1–2 Mito Caps – The r–ALA component provides significant antioxidant support while also helping to increase endogenous supplies of the key antioxidant glutathione. For additional antioxidant support, Mito Caps also contains ascorbyl palmitate, the fat–soluble form of vitamin C, and a small amount of vitamin E.

AO Booster (with another capsule taken with a later meal) - Provides a wide range of fat–soluble antioxidants – the entire vitamin E “family” (the 4 tocopherols and 4 tocotrienols), lutein (which also has eye–specific benefits), and astaxanthin, which is suggested to be up to 50 times more potent in its antioxidant capabilities than vitamin E.

During prolonged events you’re burning a lot of fat (utilizing the calories to satisfy nearly two–thirds of your energy requirements), which means you’re also producing a massive amount of fat–soluble free radicals. AO Booster is designed to neutralize the negative effects of excess fat–soluble free radicals, similar to how Super Antioxidant (below) helps to neutralize primarily water–soluble free radicals. Anti–inflammation is an additional benefit provided from the tocopherol/tocotrienol blend and the astaxanthin.

1–2 Super Antioxidant – Provides a variety of antioxidant nutrients, some of which also have circulation–enhancing benefits, which will help accelerate the clearance of metabolic waste by–products accumulated during prolonged exercise.

2–4 Endurance Amino – Even though the body is getting a significant bolus of BCAAs via the whey protein isolate component in Recoverite, I firmly believe that additionalamounts of these specific “ideal–for–recovery” amino acids is merited and beneficial. Additionally, I believe that providing the body with more glutathione at this critical time is also highly beneficial (in my opinion, any steps you can take to improve glutathione “status” in the body should be taken, especially after exercise). With Endurance Amino the body receives a nice dose of BCAAs and glutathione, complementing the BCAAs and the glutathione precursor amino acids in Recoverite.

Chromemate – Research suggests that athletes who consume chromium polynicotinate (Chromemate) along with ample carbohydrates within two hours of completion of exercise will experience a significant increase in the rate of glycogen synthesis compared to no supplementation.

I am a firm believer in the saying, “How well you recover today determines how well you perform tomorrow.” Taking a capsule of Chromemate with Recoverite is such a simple and inexpensive way to help maximize glycogen synthesis/ storage, which is an undeniably vital component in the recovery process.

Xobaline – Space limits me from listing all of the benefits that vitamin B12 and folic acid provide, though they are arguably best known for their role in the production of red blood cells. B12 and folic acid are also intimately involved in protein utilization and RNA and DNA synthesis, both of which have enhanced recovery implications.

Dr. Misner writes, “There are virtually 100′s of papers demonstrating the health benefits from folic acid and vitamin B12 in the cells, digestion, vision, hair, skin, immune system, musculoskeletal system, nervous system, oral health, and sexual system. It is a supplement I enthusiastically recommend and take every day.”

Boron – Boron is reported to raise testosterone levels to normal physiological values in older men to normal levels that they had in their 20–30′s. Supplementation with 10 mg of boron per day for 28–days increased testosterone levels in healthy males.

Note that Premium Insurance Caps contains 2.5 mg of boron per 7 capsules. Also note that females appear to not require as much boron as do males to attain optimal testosterone levels (3 mg/ day is suggested as being adequate).

Summary

There you have it, my “epic workout/race” supplement program. I hope it helps you as you put together your supplement program for your chosen sport. More information about all of these products can be found on the Hammer Nutrition website, or just call or email us& we’ll be glad to help!

Hydration – What you need to know

BY STEVE BORN

Steve Born, Hammer Nutrition's Fueling Expert

Steve Born

Steve’s decade-plus of involvement in the sports nutrition industry, as well as nearly 15 years of independent research in nutritional fueling and supplementation, has given him unmatched familiarity with the myriad product choices available to athletes.

Water is the most important substance on earth, 60% of your body weight, and the number one concern on any athlete’s intake list. For both performance and health, the importance of your water intake exceeds that of your vitamin, calorie, and electrolyte consumption. We want to make sure that you have the right amount on board when you set off on your distance efforts, when you finish, and between efforts during recovery; hence the inclusion of this article in The GUIDE. You’ll learn how sweat loss affects athletic performance, that too much water is as bad, if not worse, than too little, and that you can’t replace all of the water that you sweat out. Yes, we will get to the key issue: Just how much should I drink? Of all the many functions water has in human physiology, we’ll focus on just a couple that pertain especially to the endurance athlete: cooling the body and transporting nutrients. Let’s look at the cooling system first.

How your cooling system works

When we exercise, we burn molecular fuel (mostly glycogen) but also some protein, fat, and blood glucose from ingested nutrients. The breakdown of these energy providers releases heat that builds up and raises our core temperature. The body must rid itself of this heat and maintain a core temperature within a few degrees of the well-known 98.6° F (37° C). An active person needs a reliable cooling mechanism. Actually, you have several. You lose some heat through your skin. Blood carries heat to the capillaries near the skin’s surface, removing heat from the body core. You breathe harder to get more oxygen, expelling heat when you exhale. But by far the most important part of the cooling system, accounting on average for about 75% of all cooling, is your ability to produce and excrete sweat.

Sweat, however, glistening on your forearm or soaking your singlet won’t cool you; it must evaporate. Sweat works on a basic physical premise: water evaporation is an endothermic process, requiring energy (heat) to change from liquid to gas. Thus, water molecules in the gas phase have more energy than water molecules in the liquid phase. As water molecules evaporate from your skin, they remove heat energy; the remaining water molecules have less energy and you feel cooler. Isn’t that cool?

Weather conditions greatly affect sweat production and cooling effectiveness. In cool weather, you get substantial cooling from the heat that escapes directly from your skin. As the temperature increases, you gradually rely more on evaporation. On hot days, with little difference between skin surface and ambient temperatures, your skin surface provides only negligible convective cooling, and you need to sweat more to maintain a safe internal core temperature. At 95° F (35° C) or above, you lose no heat at all from your skin; in fact, you actually start to absorb heat. Evaporative cooling must do all of the work.

Humidity is the other major factor that affects sweat. On humid days, sweat evaporates more slowly because the atmosphere is already saturated with water vapor, retarding the evaporation rate. The sweat accumulates on your skin and soaks your clothes, but you don’t get any cooling from it because it’s not going into the vapor phase. Soaking, dripping sweat may give you a psychological boost, but it has no physical efficacy to cool; sweat must evaporate to remove heat. On days when it’s both hot and humid, well, you don’t need to read about what’s going to happen when you exercise in those conditions. You do need to know that under the worst of conditions you can produce up to three liters of sweat in an hour of strenuous exercise, but your body can only absorb about one liter from fluid consumption. Yes, this will cause problems before long, and we will discuss that issue below.

What happens when the coolant runs low?

Just like a car, your body must dissipate the excess heat generated from burning fuel. Unlike a car, your body’s coolant isn’t in a sealed internal system; you use it once and then it’s gone and needs to be replaced. Unfortunately, we don’t come with built-in gauges or indicators that tell us just how much coolant we have left in our system. We can’t run a dipstick down our gullet and get a reading that says, Add a quart. We do have some physiological signs, but they function at the Warning-Danger! level, too late to maintain optimal performance. For instance, by the time you feel thirsty, you could have a 2% body weight water loss, already into the impairment zone.

The chart below shows what happens to human performance at each percent of weight loss. By weight loss, we mean the percentage of your body weight at the start of exercise that you have lost at the end via sweat. If you go out for a run at 160 pounds (approx 72.5 kg) and weigh in 20 miles later at 154 (approx 70 kg), you’ve lost almost 4% of your body weight. That’s too much to maintain your pace to the end, let alone expect to kick.

Symptoms by percent body weight water loss:

  • PERCENT WATER LOST ——— SYMPTOMS
  • 0% — none, optimal performance, normal heat regulation
  • 1% — thirst stimulated, heat regulation during exercise altered, performance declines
  • 2% — further decrease in heat regulation, hinders performance, increased thirst
  • 3% — more of the same (worsening performance)
  • 4% — exercise performance cut by 20 – 30%
  • 5% — headache, irritability, “spaced-out” feeling, fatigue
  • 6% — weakness, severe loss of thermoregulation
  • 7% — collapse likely unless exercise stops
  • 10% — comatose
  • 11% — death likely

[Nutrition for Cyclists, Grandjean & Ruud, Clinics in Sports Med. Vol 13(1);235-246. Jan 1994]

 

Humidity is the other major factor that affects sweat. On humid days, sweat evaporates more slowly because the atmosphere is already saturated with water vapor, retarding the evaporation rate. The sweat accumulates on your skin and soaks your clothes, but you don’t get any cooling from it because it’s not going into the vapor phase.

 

How much is that?

As you can see from the chart above, sweat loss can easily escalate from an athletic performance issue to an acute medical issue. Clearly, we need to have some quantifiable idea of our intake and output. Let’s start with converting the data on the chart to recognizable amounts. Perhaps you remember the saying, a pint’s a pound, the world ’round. Now that’s a convenient conversion for endurance athletes. Here’s another: one pint = one water bottle. Some bottles hold 20 ounces (approx 590 ml), but consider a regular water bottle as a pint (16 ounces/approx 475 ml). Two pints make a quart (32 ounces), which is equivalent to almost a liter – not quite, but almost. So when you read liter, think two water bottles. Losing one pound of weight (slightly less than half a kilogram) means a one-pint loss. One liter (or one quart) is about two pounds (nearly one kilogram).

Can you drink enough?

Needless to say, maintaining optimal fluid intake prior to and during exercise is crucial for both performance and health. However, as is true with calories and electrolytes, you can’t replenish fluids at the same rate you deplete them; your body simply won’t absorb as fast as it loses. Evaporative cooling depletes fluids and electrolytes faster than the body can replenish them. Your body will accept and utilize a certain amount from exogenous (outside) sources, and, similar to calories and electrolytes, maintaining fluid intake within a specific range will postpone fatigue and promote peak performance

Research suggests that while electrolyte needs for individual athletes may vary up to 1000% (tenfold), fluid loss remains fairly constant. Also, we can measure fluid loss more easily than electrolyte loss; we don’t need sophisticated lab equipment, just a scale. Thus, we can come pretty close in calculating fluid loss and replacement.

The numbers

On average, you lose about one liter (approx 34 ounces) of fluid per hour of exercise. Extreme heat and humidity can raise that amount to three liters in one hour. A trained athlete will store enough muscle glycogen to provide energy for approximately 90 minutes of aerobic exercise. As your muscles burn glycogen, water is released as a metabolic by-product and excreted as sweat. Researchers found that during a marathon (26.2 miles), runners released an average of two liters of sweat from muscle glycogen stores. This is in addition to sweat from other body liquids.

You can control or lessen these sweat rates by acclimatization and training for the event. Acclimatized athletes can reduce electrolyte and fluid loss up to 50%, but note that those losses cannot be fully replaced during the event. Remember the words of Dr. Bill Misner (mentioned in the LESS IS BEST – The right way to fuel* article), The endurance exercise outcome is to postpone fatigue, not replace all the fuel, fluids, and electrolytes lost during the event. It can’t be done, though many of us have tried. In other words, our hydration goal is not to replace water ounce-for-ounce or pint-for-pint, but to support natural stores by consuming as much as we can adequately process during exercise.

At the most, you can absorb about one liter (approx 34 fluid ounces) of water per hour, but only in the most extreme heat and humidity. Most of the time you can only absorb about half or not too much over half that amount, even though it won’t fully replace your losses. Repeated intake of one liter (about 34 fluid ounces) per hour will ultimately do you more harm than good.

Can you drink too much?

Ironically, while you can’t drink enough to replace all fluid lost, you can drink too much. Researchers have noted the dangers of excess hydration during events lasting over four hours. Dr. Tim Noakes collected data for ten years from some 10,000 runners participating in the Comrades Marathon. This 52.4-mile (84.33 km) race, held each June (winter) in South Africa, ranks as one of the world’s premier ultra marathons. Noakes showed that endurance athletes who consumed from 16-24 fluid ounces per hour (approx 475-710 milliliters) typically replenished as much fluid as is efficiently possible. He also noted the prevalence of hyponatremia (low blood sodium) during ultra marathons and triathlons in runners who hydrated excessively. This condition can arise from several different physiological scenarios. For endurance athletes, it usually results from sweat-depleted sodium stores diluted by excess hypotonic (low electrolyte content) fluid intake. When blood sodium concentration becomes too dilute, you can develop severe cardiac symptoms leading to collapse.

Problems with too much or too little

Moreover, Noakes noted a pattern of hydration problems among race participants. In ultra events, the leaders usually dehydrate, but the athletes in the middle-to-back of the pack tend to overhydrate. Both may end up suffering from the same hyponatremic symptoms; the former from too little fluid intake combined with too much sodium loss due to profuse sweating, the latter from too much fluid intake and relatively less sodium loss. Because most front-runners are extremely competitive, they don’t stop long enough during the race to overhydrate. In addition, it’s highly likely that elite athletes may be fitter and better acclimatized to deal with hot weather conditions. A tendency to linger at aid stations, attempting to relieve the symptoms of fatigue or heat by drinking too much water, is a fault found among the majority of the remainder of athletes, those in the middle or back of the pack. Also, these athletes may be novices who have heard the drink, drink, drink mantra, but who haven’t had enough experience to personally calibrate their individual needs. After the 1985 Comrades race, 17 runners were hospitalized, nine with dilutional hyponatremia. In the 1987 Comrades Marathon, 24 runners suffered from dilutional hyponatremia. These athletes had seriously overloaded on fluid intake, with the inevitable result of a totally disrupted physiology.

Tragic consequences

Hyponatremia usually results from drinking too much, especially when one drinks fluids such as plain water or a sports drink lacking the proper electrolyte profile. Training and fitness levels, weather conditions, and, undoubtedly, biological predisposition also contribute to developing this form of hyponatremia known as water intoxication.

Sadly, we must note that this condition has led, directly or in part, to the deaths of otherwise healthy runners in major American marathons. It is hard for us to comprehend the grief of the families they left behind. These athletes went out to run a marathon, to achieve a personal victory. Improper hydration took away their day of glory and also their lives. They collapsed and went into an irreversible condition involving uncontrollable brain edema, coma, and death. We report this to help prevent any future such tragedies. Overhydration represents a very serious problem. Unlike dehydration, which will generally only result in painful cramping, possibly a DNF, or at the worst, IV treatment, overhydration can incite a chain of ultimately fatal physiological consequences.

So how much, how often?

The extreme cases cited above happen very rarely. Lesser degrees of impairment occur frequently from excessive fluid intake. We don’t have a chart for overhydration similar to the one for dehydration. Also, you probably don’t carry a scale or have regular access to weigh-ins along your training route. So how do you know when it’s time to drink? You don’t wait until you’re down a quart. A good hydration regimen starts before you even get moving.

Noakes believes intake of hypotonic fluids of one liter/hr (33.8 oz/hr) will likely cause water intoxication and dilutional hyponatremia. He suggests that athletes may do better on 500 ml/hr (approx 17 oz/hr) fluid intake for ultra events performed in hot weather conditions. In THE TOP 10 – The biggest mistakes endurance athletes make* article, Dr. Ian Rogers suggests that between 500-750 ml/hr (about 17-25 oz/hr) will fulfill most athletes’ hydration requirements under most conditions. According to Dr. Rogers, Like most things in life, balance is the key and the balance is likely to be at a fluid intake not much above 500 milliliters (about 17 ounces) per hour in most situations, unless predicted losses are very substantial. Other research suggests a similar consumption of 4.5-7.0 oz (approx 133-207 ml) of water every 15 to 20 minutes of exercise.

How much fluid should you drink?

Average Athlete, average temps Lighter athletes or cooler temps Heavier athletes or hotter temps
20-25 oz/hr (approx 590-740 ml/hr) is an appropriate fluid intake for most athletes under most conditions. For lighter weight athletes, or those exercising in cooler temperatures, 16-18 oz/ hr (approx 473-532 ml) may be perfect. Heavier athletes or athletes competing in hotter conditions may consider intakes upwards of 28 oz/hr (approx 830 ml/hr).

 

Based on the available research, along with the thousands of athletes we have monitored, we have found that 20-25 oz/hr (approx 590-740 ml/hr) is an appropriate fluid intake for most athletes under most conditions. For lighter weight athletes, or those exercising in cooler temperatures, 16-18 oz/hr (approx 473-532 ml) may be perfect. Heavier athletes or athletes competing in hotter conditions may consider intakes upwards of 28 oz/hr (approx 830 ml/hr). We also suggest that to avoid dilutional hyponatremia, fluid intake should not routinely exceed 28 oz/hr (830 ml/hr). The exceptions are heavier athletes, athletes exercising at extreme levels (prolonged periods at a high percentage of VO2Max), and athletes competing in severe environmental conditions.

20-25 oz (approx 590-740 ml) is the equivalent of the typical regular-to-large size water bottle, and that’s an excellent gauge to work within.

Remember your electrolytes and calories!

We noted at the beginning of this article that besides cooling, water also plays an important role in nutrient transport. Water consumption bears directly on electrolyte and caloric uptake. You must consider the electrolyte content of your fluid intake, especially if you exceed about 24 oz/hr (710 ml/hr). If temperature and humidity rise above 70° F (21° C) and/or 70% humidity, we recommend that you take electrolytes before and during every hour of exercise. For a full discussion of electrolyte needs, see the article  ELECTROLYTE REPLENISHMENT – Why it’s so important and how to do it right.*

In addition, avoid fructose or other simple sugar-based drinks and gels, especially in the heat – unless you want to deal with a gastric emptying problem, which may result in nausea and other stomach maladies. Compared to complex carbohydrates, drinks or gels that contain simple sugars (typically glucose, fructose, and sucrose) require more fluid and electrolytes for effective absorption. Because they require more fluid, you get fewer calories per unit of water. You must restrict simple sugar drinks to a 6-8% solution range, which provides inadequate amounts of calories for energy production. You can make a nice drink in a water bottle that will absorb well and provide adequate fluid, but your caloric intake will fall far short of your body-s needs and your energy level will suffer.

If you make a double or triple-strength batch of a simple sugar drink hoping to obtain adequate amounts of calories, you’ll require additional fluids and electrolytes to efficiently process the sugar. You will need to guess how much extra water and electrolytes your body needs to handle the sugar. If you guess low, your GI tract will be forced to pull minerals and fluids from other areas of the body. This scenario can cause nauseating results as your body literally dehydrates its working muscles while bloating your belly. Why take chances like that when your performance is on the line?

Your wisest choice is to use fuel comprised of complex carbohydrates, which is the carbohydrate source of all the Hammer Nutrition fuels. Even at a 15-18% concentration, these fuel sources absorb and digest rapidly, do not require excess fluid for transport through the GI system, and provide all of the calories your liver can process. For more details on fueling, see the article PROPER FUELING – Pre-workout & race suggestions*

 

Beat the Heat

Tips to keep cool

A cold, wet towel, sponge, hose, or sprayer on the head and torso. If you’re running, take a one-minute walk, douse yourself with water, and take a good drink. If you’re cycling, find a spot for a good coast or easy spin for a minute. The break from heavy exertion allows dissipation of internal eat.
Combined with hydration and external water, these ideas can effectively relieve heat stress, allowing you to finish hot weather endurance events. Highly competitive athletes might scoff at walking, but when it comes to core temperature, nature gives you two choices: cool down or DNF.

 

Multi-hour bottles of fuel – A convenient way to monitor fluid and calorie intake

If you’re going to be exercising for several hours, a convenient and time-efficient way to fuel (while also helping you monitor calorie and fluid intake with greater precision) is to make concentrated, multi-hour bottles of Sustained Energy or Perpetuem. This is discussed in the article The Hammer Nutrition Fuels found in the supplement to this book. However, since the topic here is hydration, presenting this information now is relevant.

Each scoop of Sustained Energy and Perpetuem that you put in a bottle reduces the water volume by about 1.5 ounces (approx 44 ml). For example, if you add two scoops of Perpetuem to a 21-ounce (approx 620 ml) water bottle, you won’t end up with that same amount of actual fluid; it will be approximately 18 oz (roughly 502 ml), perhaps even slightly less. For some athletes, 18 oz/hr is sufficient, but for many athletes that’s not enough; oftentimes upwards of 25-28 oz (approx 740-830 ml) of fluid are required hourly. As a result, you’ll have to drink your entire fuel bottle plus plain water from another source. After awhile it can be difficult to keep precise track of your fluid intake because you’re fulfilling your needs from two separate sources.

To make things easier when doing a three-hour or longer workout, we suggest making concentrated, multi-hour bottles of fuel. For example, if you’re going to be exercising for four hours and you know that you need two scoops of Perpetuem to satisfy an hours worth of fueling, make an 8-scoop bottle in a 21-ounce (approx 620 ml) water bottle. Now you have four hours of fuel in one bottle and that provides a number of benefits:

  • Because you have four hours of fuel in one bottle, you only need to drink one-fourth of that bottle hourly, which means you don’t have to drink a full bottle of flavored liquid hour after hour.
  • You don’t need to stop every hour to make more fuel because you’ve got four hours in one bottle.
  • You can drink and enjoy plain water from another source (another bottle, hydration system) to cleanse the palate and satisfy hydration needs.

Yes, there is some actual fluid left in that 8-scoop/4-hour bottle of Perpetuem, but the amount is small, yielding less than four ounces (approx 118 ml) hourly over the course of four hours. Does that small amount of fluid count towards fulfilling your overall hydration needs? Yes, but it’s a small enough amount to not have to think about if you’re keeping your overall fluid intake within our suggested guidelines (approximately 20-25 oz / 590-740 ml hourly). Plus, those hourly guidelines do have some flexibility built in (+/- 3-4 oz or approx 89-118 ml).

With that in mind, a concentrated bottle of Perpetuem can thus be thought of as a calories only bottle and you’ll fulfill your hydration needs with plain water from another source. The beauty of this, among the other benefits mentioned earlier, is that because you’re fulfilling your calorie and fluid needs from sources independent of each other, you’re able to gauge your intake with greater precision.

So when your workouts are greater than three hours in length, give the multi-hour bottle of Sustained Energy or Perpetuem a try and you’ll find that it’ll be a lot easier to keep track of both your calorie and fluid intake . . . it’s been a winning strategy for thousands of endurance athletes.

Other ways to cool yourself in extreme heat

Although not directly related to actual water consumption, an external water application can help cool you. A cold, wet towel, sponge, hose, or sprayer on the head and torso can effectively lower body temperature, especially during a one-minute break. If you’re running, take a one-minute walk, douse yourself with water, and take a good drink. If you’re cycling, find a spot for a good coast or easy spin for a minute. The break from heavy exertion allows dissipation of internal heat. Combined with hydration and external water, this can effectively relieve heat stress, allowing you to finish hot weather endurance events. Highly competitive athletes might scoff at walking, but when it comes to core temperature, nature gives you two choices: cool down or DNF.

Fluid intake suggestions apart from the workout or race

Now that you have a good guide for your fluid intake during exercise, we can turn to two other considerations: how much you should drink overall during the day and how you should hydrate just prior to racing or exercise. For your regular daily hydration needs (that is, in addition to your exercise-induced needs), no research has conclusively arrived at an RDA for fluids, but about 0.5-0.6 fluid ounces per pound of body weight (roughly 33-39 ml/kg) makes a more accurate standard than the eight glasses a day commonly recommended for everyone. Multiplying your body weight in pounds by 0.5-0.6 will give you the figure, in fluid ounces, that you should aim for daily. Metrically, you’ll multiply your body weight in kilograms by about 33-39 and that’ll give you a good estimate, in milliliters, of what you should be drinking daily. Caveat: If you have not been following this recommendation consistently, you’ll want to start increasing your daily water consumption gradually until you reach your target amount. If you increase your fluid intake too quickly it will overwhelm your body with too much fluid too soon, which may increase the potential for hyponatremia.

For satisfying hydration requirements prior to a workout or race, there have been a number of recommendations presented over the years. These are the two that we believe to be the most sensible, the ones that will satisfy hydration needs without putting you at the risk for overhydration:

  • One liter of fluid (about 34 ounces) in the two hours prior to the start (about 17 ounces/500 milliliters per hour), ceasing consumption about 20-30 minutes before you begin the workout or race.
  • 10-12 ounces (approx 295-355 milliliters) of fluid each hour up to 30 minutes prior to the start (24-30 ounces total fluid intake). Keep in mind that even though these are our recommendations, you need to determine what works best for your system and the particular logistics of the race or training session ahead.

Keep in mind that even though these are our recommendations, you need to determine what works best for your system and the particular logistics of the race or training session ahead.

Personalized data is the key to hydration efficiency

We offer no “one size fits all” remedies. We do offer prudent and scientifically substantiated advice. We have given you some guidelines to start your assessment and calculation of your personal hydration needs. Each athlete is personally responsible to include hydration, fueling, and electrolyte replacement regimens into his or her training program. You must find out in practice—before competition—what works for you. Most of you will find your final figures will come very close to our suggested starting points. For others, you might find that in certain instances your needs in a particular event will require substantial modification.

If you’ve spent money on a heart rate monitor, a multi-function watch, or a body fat measuring device, and if you use them properly, you already have some serious training tools. We suggest that a good scale (preferably one that can measure less than one pound increments, such as a balance scale) may well prove to be your most valuable fitness investment. Weigh yourself before and after each outing, carefully noting the time, exertion level, miles, weather, and fluid, fuel, and electrolyte consumption. Another low-tech hint: make sure you know the capacity of your water bottles and hydration packs. Once you begin to log your fluid consumption and weight fluctuations, you’ll have the data to accurately calculate your personal needs in this absolutely vital area.

We don’t offer any one size fits all remedies. We do offer prudent and scientifically substantiated advice. Each athlete is personally responsible for including hydration, fueling, and electrolyte replacement in his or her training program.

We have given you some guidelines to start your assessment and calculation of your personal hydration needs. You must find out in practice, before competition, what works for you. Most will find that your final figures will come very close to our suggested starting points. For others, you might find that in certain instances your needs for a particular event will require substantial modification

Final checklist, some quick tips, and summary

1.) If you finish an event weighing the same or more than when you started, you have overhydrated. If you’ve dropped 3% or more, dehydration has occurred. Up to 2% weight loss is safe and reasonable.

2.) For very long events, such as a century bike ride, the average rider will also lose a pound or more in energy stores (glycogen, fat, and muscle tissue) in addition to the water, so figure that into your weight difference.

3.) Don’t assume that you can drink unlimited amounts of water or fluid during exercise and expect that all of it will be absorbed and the excess will be lost in sweat or through the kidneys. You will instead bloat, dilute your blood, urinate excessively, and develop water intoxication.

4.) Train to get fit in the heat. Heat acclimatization and fitness reduce fluid and electrolyte losses by up to 50%.

5.) Wear the lightest, most evaporation-friendly clothing you can afford. Cotton isn’t on the list. Many fibers today provide superior wicking and evaporation that allow your sweat to do the work nature intended.

6.) In general, keep fluid intake between 20-25 oz (approx 590-740 ml)/hr. For lighter weight athletes, or those exercising in cooler temperatures, 16-18 oz (approx 473-532 ml)/hr may be perfect. Heavier athletes or athletes competing in hotter conditions may consider intakes upwards of 28 oz (approx 830 ml)/hr. If you feel you need more fluids, experiment with it in training, keeping in mind that you will require additional electrolytes. Regular fluid intake over 30 oz (approx 890 ml)/hr increases the possibility of dilutional hyponatremia.

7.) Use cold fluids as much as possible as your body absorbs them more rapidly than warm fluids. Know where to find cold water along your training routes. Use frozen and insulated water bottles and hydration packs.

8.) Urine color can indicate hydration level. Dark yellow urine means low hydration. Pale to light yellow is good. Don’t confuse the bright yellow urine you get after vitamin B-2 (riboflavin) supplementation for the dark yellow urine that indicates overly concentrated urine.

9.) During exercise, avoid foods and fuels that contain low chain carbohydrates. These simple sugar fuels require more fluids and electrolytes for digestive purposes. Also avoid carbonated drinks, as the gas inhibits absorption.

10.) Use caffeine with caution. Used properly and sparingly, caffeine has ergogenic benefits. It does, however, act as a diuretic, which may deplete fluid stores more rapidly.

11.) During the hottest weather conditions, sponging yourself off with cold water, while taking a short periodic break from race pace, will provide heat relief.

12.) Know the symptoms of overhydration and dehydration. Stop immediately if you feel lightheaded or queasy or get the dry chills. No race or training is worth compromising your health.

SUMMARY

Dehydration and overhydration are common problems that plague far too many athletes, some with severe consequences. Armed with the guidelines contained in this article, along with practice and testing in training, your performance and health need not suffer. Instead, you’ll be ahead of the vast majority of athletes who continue to make the same mistakes over and over again.