Calories, Fluids, & Electrolytes
BY BRIAN FRANK
As we gear up for another summer of endurance, it’s time to get your fueling/nutrition strategy completely dialed in for those long days. Exercising beyond three hours is when the game completely changes, and your fueling plan will be either your success or your demise. For over three decades, athletes like you have used our products, followed our fueling strategies, and achieved unparalleled success in your training and races. Adopt these key recommendations, tweak them as needed to suit your personal physiology with our expert assistance, and we guarantee you’ll see huge results!
Less is best
The right pre-race fueling question is: “What is the least amount of calories I need to consume to keep my body doing what I want it to do hour after hour without slowing me down?” The wrong question is: “How many calories am I burning or can I consume before I get sick?” At most, you might be able to replace 30% of what your body is burning. Fortunately, when you follow our fueling strategies, the vast supply of calories from body fat stores will bridge the gap between what your body is losing and what it can comfortably absorb.
Consume appropriate amounts of calories for your body weight
During exercise, the average-size athlete’s liver can theoretically return 4.0-4.6 calories per minute back to the energy cycle. That’s 240-280 calories per hour MAXIMUM for the average-size (160-165 lb) person. Athletes fueling with our products and strategies consistently do best with far fewer calories, especially when using Perpetuem; 120-180 calories per hour, depending on your size, is definitely the sweet spot for calorie intake.
Pace and temperature affect your ability to tolerate calories, so be prepared to reduce or increase your planned hourly intake by 10-20%. Running also reduces calorie tolerance, so plan to consume less than you do on the bike.
Follow the “less is best” approach to calorie intake because a “not enough calories” problem is significantly easier to fix (consume more calories) than an “uh oh, I overdid it on the calories, I feel weak, sick, and downright miserable now my race is ruined” problem!
Monitor your hourly intake
Regardless of conditions, your maximum hourly fluid intake during exercise should be 20- 28 oz—roughly the equivalent of a small or large water bottle. That’s sufficient to stave off dehydration without putting yourself at risk of over-hydration. Smaller athletes and cooler conditions may only need 16- 18 oz per hour.
While dehydration is something you most certainly want to avoid; drinking too much fluid is just as bad, or worse. Consuming over 24-28 oz of fluid hour after hour greatly increases the potential for dilutional hyponatremia, a medical emergency. Peeing clear is NEVER a good thing.
Stay hydrated all day long
The majority of people don’t drink enough water throughout the day, so they’re constantly in a state of dehydration. That’s not good for athletic performance, and it’s even worse for overall health. Therefore, in addition to what you’re consuming in your workouts, drink enough fluid— pure, clean water—to maintain optimal hydration status all day long. The goal is ½ your body weight in fluid ounces daily as a minimum. (e.g., 180 lb athlete should consume 90-110 oz of water daily). If you haven’t been consuming this much daily, gradually increase your consumption until you reach your target amount.
Don’t try to “super hydrate” in the days before a hot-weather event
We are not camels and cannot store water. Chugging water in the 48 hours prior to a hotweather race only flushes precious minerals out of your system prematurely, ensuring electrolyte problems on race day. Instead, maintain constant daily hydration (half of your body weight in fluid ounces) up to and through race day, regardless of temps.
Keep yourself hydrated every day of the year, not just on race day. Drink ½ oz per pound of body weight, or slightly more, daily. Drink a maximum of 20- 28 oz per hour during exercise. Overhydration on race day is more common than dehydration.
Ditch the salt
Most of us consume far, far too much salt from our daily diet, and most athletes have a reservoir of upwards of 8,000-10,000 mg of sodium stored in body tissues. When you begin your workout or race/event, you’ll have PLENTY of sodium ready to serve you, assuming you have not prematurely flushed it all out of your body by trying to “load” water in the days prior. To allow your body to utilize its sodium stores more efficiently and conserve them more effectively, lower your daily sodium intake to between 3,500 mg and 5,000 mg per day of salt (1,400 mg to 2,000 mg of sodium). When you are not over-consuming dietary sodium, 300-600 mg/hour of salt (sodium chloride) should be plenty in any level of heat and humidity.
Full-spectrum electrolytic mineral support required
“Electrolyte replenishment” does not mean “sodium/salt replenishment.” In fact, consuming too much salt overrides and shuts down the body’s natural mechanisms for recirculating and conserving its stores of sodium. Moderate amounts of sodium and chloride are recommended, as well as adequate amounts of calcium, magnesium, and potassium; all of these minerals work synergistically to maintain the optimal performance of many important bodily functions. Endurolytes and Endurolytes Fizz provide the full-spectrum, proportionately balanced blend of these electrolytic minerals, supplying your body with exactly what it needs. For extremely warm-to-hot weather—and especially if you’re not acclimated to those conditions—Endurolytes Extreme or Endurolytes Extreme Powder are your go-to products.
“Sodium loading” does not work!
When you attempt to sodium load for a hot-weather effort, (as so many clueless “experts” recommend) your body will go into survival mode by flushing the excess sodium and all of your other precious minerals as well. You end up electrolyte deficient on the starting line, and things go from bad to worse.
A good hourly dosage guideline is 3-6 Endurolytes, 1-2 Endurolytes Extreme, 1-2 scoops of Endurolytes Extreme Powder, or 1-2 tablets of Endurolytes Fizz per hour. Don’t slavishly adhere to the same dose hour after hour; take less in the morning when it’s cool and more in the afternoon when it’s hot. If you need more than this to avoid cramping, take more!
These time-tested and proven recommendations take all of the guesswork out of how to properly fuel your body during exercise. Adopt these recommendations, apply them in all of your workouts, and customize them if necessary to fit your unique physiology. We guarantee that you’ll receive maximal benefits from your workouts, you’ll experience better race results, and you’ll have more fun in the process.Download Issue 124 PDF