I recently had a conversation with one of my teammates about how we are fueling our hydration for training… yep, in January.
Now I realize that this might not be the first topic that comes to mind before the trails are even rideable for many but I’m sure plenty of you are already logging miles on the trainer or starting to plan out your big goals for this year- so hear me out: This is the perfect time to think about your hydration and dialing it in now can help you make the most of your valuable training time!
There are some big misconceptions out there that we as cyclists really only need to worry about hydration when it gets hot or during a race. It can be easy to skimp on our hydration mix in the off season because we think it’s not important this time of year or we want to save money since it’s “only riding on the trainer”. The truth is that the quality of these miles matter and we can help ourselves greatly two months from now by focusing on them and doing them well.
Winter miles are often shorter if you live somewhere cold and are typically pretty structured- in part because trainers are not somewhere to spend more than an hour or two if you value your sanity! Quality work becomes really important and this can be a big challenge when daylight hours and work schedules force many of us indoors. So here’s the thing: if you are looking to maximize your winter gains, I would seriously recommend focusing some energy on your fueling and hydration for these workouts. For example, if you fall behind on your hydration at work (or drank WAAAAAYYYY too much coffee), you might want to have a bottle of hydration ready on the counter waiting for when you get home. Particularly for intensity-style workouts, you’ll want to do what you can to help your body to get the most out of the challenging training you are about to put it through.
As exercise physiologist Stacy Simms notes in her book Roar, “…[t]he main point of hydration is to keep your body fluid levels high enough to continue functioning properly. You use the water in your body to get rid of the heat you produce and cool you down while you’re exercising…with less water in your blood, the blood is more viscous, so your heart has to work harder. Your heart rate goes up. Your power goes down. Your core temperature rises. All of that leads to fatigue, reduced performance and the dreaded power decline at the end of a hard workout.” With the time and effort that we put into our training and our equipment throughout the year, good hydration is a relatively inexpensive tool for maximizing our experience.
On the KS-Kenda team this season, I am (seriously) tickled to be working with GQ-6 Hydration and Richard Hiraga for our hydration needs. His system is amazing and simple, the way it’s supposed to be. Richard is a cyclist and had grown frustrated with the lack of “clean and simple” but functional hydration options available on the market so he partnered with athletes and experts to create his own hydration base system. With 115 kcal per 24 oz. bottle, the mix is nicely balanced with sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and chloride to help drive water into your cells and a HUGE added bonus of the GQ-6 BCAA (branch chain amino acids) blend which helps to minimize muscle breakdown during hard efforts. Side note: this is a huge feature for women in particular as our monthly shifts in progesterone and estrogen during the second half of our cycle cause us to be much more prone to muscle breakdown, making it harder for us to build or maintain muscle mass than our male counterparts.
Below, we have created a simple chart to show how to use the GQ-6 System. As you can see, each product comes with 30 servings so it lasts for quite a while!
So, how do we use the GQ-6 System?
To start off, we recommend trying out the Hydration base. You can use this before, during and after any workouts or gym training sessions. It’s gluten-free, free of additives and easy on a delicate stomach. Green Apple and Tropical Punch seem to be the team favorite with us!
Before a really intense day or as a pick-me up in the middle of a tough block, we like to add a scoop of the energy supplement to our hydration base and start sipping on it 30 minutes prior to the workout. As a general rule, you want to try to get through one bottle per hour. You can also add a scoop of the endurance supplement to your hydration base for long or high intensity days.
One of our favorite products that GQ-6 offers is their Rekuvr Nite Time tablets. Sleep is one of the most underutilized training tools available and after a hard workout it can be tough to calm down enough to sleep. With the Rekuvr, as 3 mg of melatonin takes effect, the time to fall asleep may be shortened and your total sleep time may increase. During this efficient sleep, the amino acids L-Glutamine and L-Leucine target muscle preservation, repair, and lean muscle gains. There is also calcium and magnesium help calm muscles and nerves.
- I need the whole system? Ideally, yes, you would have the whole system as GQ-6 is formulated to work using the chart above. However, if you want to start out by trying one product, we would suggest you get the Hydration Base! In fact, several of our team member’s love the Green Apple Flavor!
- What if I don’t race? Should I still use GQ-6? Anytime you are exercising for more than an hour GQ-6 is a good idea. Even if you are not training to race, you still want to feel your best before, during, and after your workout!
- Should I use GQ-6 for every activity? You can always throw some of the Hydration mix in your bottle but you don’t need to use the Energy and Endurance mixes for easy/recovery days. Save that for the strenuous workouts!
- Why are you tickled to work with Richard? Richard is rad! Besides making a wonderful product that is clean and effective, he also cares a lot about people. He is very supportive of women’s cycling and we are stoked to have him on board the KS-Kenda team!
As the season gets going, we look forward to talking more about some tips and tricks for fueling and hydrating for hot weather training and racing! GQ6 offers a full line of products that help us cope with heat, heavy training load, altitude and general hard work. What are your tricks for helping pass the miles and make the most of your basement miles?
Have more questions? Shoot us an email and we will get back to you with more information! Next week check back for the science nerd blog on how all of this actually works in your body during exercise!