Julia's nutrition tips #2: Hydration before riding - Bike Magic

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Julia’s nutrition tips #2: Hydration before riding

Julia Revitt, nutritionist by trade, mountain biker by affliction, is back with several more quick and simple tips to help us understand the basics of nutrition, hydration and fitness and how they can affect our riding.

Hydrate correctly to avoid ruining your precious time on the bike!

Words and photo: Julia Revitt

As we saw in my previous article ‘Nutrition before riding’, nutrition plays a huge role in setting you up fully fuelled for a great ride but nutrition is only half the story. I’m sure you’ve all felt a pounding headache on a long, hot ride where your helmet seems to be pressing against your skull. Or you got back to the car and just felt sick and not able to eat anything. This is due to dehydration.

A healthy male adult is made up of 60% water and a female is 50% water.  This water is lost through sweating, urinating, and breathing. Just a 2% drop in this level can impair your performance.

The symptoms of dehydration are:

  • Thirst
  • Impaired brain function
  • Intense thirst, strain on cardiovascular system, lack of appetite
  • Decrease in blood volume and urine, dry mouth, lack of energy
  • Nausea, sleepiness
  • Lack of concentration
  • Hot skin, increased pulse and rate of breathing
  • Dizziness, difficulty breathing, confusion and slurred speech
  • Muscle cramps, delirium, inability to rest
  • Blood volume too low and renal failure

It is vital to start your ride fully hydrated; you should start to sip water or a sports drink (about 500ml) about 2 hours before the start.

There’s no need to drink gallons or you will just need to go to the loo a lot and then lose all that hydration down the toilet! Just sip pleasantly until the start of your ride. Use your urine colour to guide you – it should be a pale yellow. Unfortunately, alcohol is a diuretic and should not be consumed before, during or after riding – sorry!

Stay tuned for my next installment on nutrition during riding followed by hydration during riding.

Julia Revitt



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