Adopting a food strategy during exercise allows you to maintain your energy reserves for as long as possible. This means combining hydration with carbohydrates. Focus on the 4 essential elements for performance.
WATER: To stay hydrated.
All exercise involves water loss, which can have an effect on sports people's performance and health.
Water loss is due to:
- the ambient temperature,
- the exercise done,
- personal tolerance, the level of training and acclimatisation to the heat.
Being thirsty or not is an unreliable indicator of how hydrated your body is, because it is a late symptom of dehydration. You therefore have to drink before feeling thirsty.
You are advised to drink regularly. That means 1 to 2 sips every 10 to 15 minutes.
SODIUM: To replace salts lost through sweat.
Perspiration allows you to control your body temperature but involves mineral loss, in particular sodium. This mineral helps the body's water balance. Sodium loss is linked to sweating and can vary depending on the intensity and duration of the race, and the climatic conditions.
How much should I take?
For exercise lasting less than an hour: you do not need to replace any sodium.
For exercise lasting longer than an hour: it is recommended that you consume sodium, and this is essential in extreme heat. The energy drinks have been designed to respond to sports people's sodium needs.
CARBOHYDRATES: To make up for energy loss.
Muscles need energy in the form of carbohydrates in order to work. However, reserves are limited. You therefore need to take them on during exercise.
Carbohydrates can be consumed as a liquid or solid, depending on each sports person's preferences and their hydration strategy.
What strategy should you adopt?
Energy drinks offer the joint advantage of hydration and carbohydrate provision. These products are practical to use, but some sports people prefer more concentrated energy gels, in particular when their energy needs overtake the desire to drink. All of these products however must be accompanied by water consumption. More solid products such as energy bars are very useful and have the advantage of reducing feelings of hunger thanks to the time spent chewing them