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09-01-2022 - Reading time: 5 minutes

Indoor training: serious sweating means serious hydration

Are you slowing down a little, now that the days are getting shorter and it’s less inviting to go cycling outdoors? An excellent choice if you want to start the next cycling season fresh and hungry. However, many cyclists have found a new winter pastime: the indoor trainer. Cycling in your living room requires specific choices in sports nutrition.

Rain, cold, wind, snow, incoming darkness – all these frequently used excuses for not cycling in the winter no longer apply if you have an indoor trainer. You can simply ride for miles in your attic or garage. Moreover, indoor training is a very useful, efficient way of training. You can do targeted training for a sporting goal that is scheduled in early spring. The aspects that need to be improved can be specifically tackled with customised training schedules and programmes on the indoor trainer.

Last but not least, a virtual ride in your own living room saves you a long clean-up of the bike afterwards. Plus, parts do not wear out as a result of exposure to mud, dirt and rain. But most importantly, indoor training is fun, thanks in particular to specific indoor programmes such as Zwift, TrainerRoad, Rouvy, The Sufferfest and Kinomap. Some of these programmes even allow you to virtually compete with each other. That’s when you push your body to its limits. You will experience training impulses and give your build-up to the new season a strong boost.

Drinking is key

When it comes to sports nutrition during indoor training, first of all focus on what you drink. After all, training indoors means you’re going to sweat – a lot. Temperatures inside are higher than outside, and of course there’ll be no wind, although a fan can be placed in front of the training set-up for some cooling down.

So drinking is key for the indoor cyclist. Ideally, you should drink more than you would do during outdoor training. The standard guideline for outdoors is 500 millilitres per hour. So if you don’t want to get dehydrated, try to get more in than that when training indoors. The guidelines for outdoors also say that you don’t need carbohydrates when training for an hour or less. Water should be sufficient. But because you’ll do some serious sweating on the indoor trainer, you’ll lose (much) more minerals than outdoors. For this reason, it’s a good idea to take the Eurosport nutrition Isotonic Sports Drink before the hour is over, for example after 40 minutes. It contains electrolytes – essential minerals, such as sodium, potassium, magnesium and calcium – that make sure the muscles function properly and the fluid balance is maintained.

If possible, put two water bottles – one with water and one with Isotonic Sports Drink – in the bottle cage. Also move a table or chair next to the training set-up on which you can put spare water bottles with Isotonic Sports Drink that you can take when your indoor ride lasts two or three hours or longer. This way, you won’t have to get off your bike during training and you will stay hydrated. Research shows that a 2 percent loss of moisture can result in a 10 percent loss of performance. Naturally you will want to avoid that.

Energy needs

Have you planned a relatively long indoor workout? Then it’s important to take a good look at your carbohydrate intake. For some part, the carbohydrates will come from the Isotonic Sports Drink. But if you exercise for longer than an hour, you’ll need to meet your body’s extra energy demands with more and different energy products. The longer the training and the higher the intensity, the greater the energy needs. So taking that in mind, you should increase your carbohydrate intake to 70 grams per hour. In addition to the Isotonic Sports Drink, you should get carbohydrates from an Energy Bar or Energy Gel + Magnesium, for example. Towards the end of the training session you could also choose an Energy Gel + Caffeine. The caffeine in the gel will give you an energy boost.

Back to strength

When your indoor ride is over, it’s important to work on your recovery right away, especially if you have been riding for two hours or more. You’ve probably done some serious sweating, so bringing the fluid and carbohydrate reserves back up to standard is essential. Also, proteins are required to repair the muscle damage caused by the physical strain. The Eurosport nutrition Recovery Shake can do the job and is therefore an excellent choice. It has the 5:1 ratio between carbohydrates and proteins, including Peptopro®. This is a mixture of scientifically developed peptides, or small fragments of protein, which are easily absorbed by the body, and therefore speed up the recovery.