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  1. #1
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    Endurolytes - How many do you take per ride?

    Yesterday I was on a climbing ride with about 3300ft of climbing, there was also high winds in the area (approx 25-35 mph gusts).

    About 1/3 of the way into the climb, I began getting cramps in my quads. While I was stopping for a rest and a stretch, a cycling in our group stopped to assist me. He advised that I should probably be downing about 6 Endurolytes. Up to that point, I had taken 2 Endurolytes before the ride started. And two more before he advised me I should take more.

    I was able to continue riding after some snacks and stretching. I continued riding another 3rd of the climb, but after a particularly grueling section while fighting a massive headwind, my legs went into some major cramping and I fell over while pushing a measly 4 mph. The very experienced rider I was climbing with advised me to continue popping Endurolytes. Within two hours I probably dosed about 10 capsules.

    During this whole ordeal, I had also consumed 2 bottles that contained Gu Electrolyte powder.

    I've been following the instructions on the Endurolyte bottle but that seems insufficient compared to what riders were telling me during my ride yesterday.

    So my question to you is, is it "normal" to be taking so many Endurolytes during a very strenuous ascent? Should I pop more of these before my ride to ensure I don't go into electrolyte deficit in the first place?

  2. #2
    Senior Member ericm979's Avatar
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    For me it depends on the weather. I need more electrolytes when it's warm and I am sweating more. I don't need them for a ride that's less than 4 hours. If it's really hot or it's a long ride I use Endurolytes and salt tablets. Endurolytes don't contain that much salt- I think it's 35mg- so for say a hot 6 hour ride I'd take a couple salt tablets in addition to 6 or so Endurolytes.

    The amount of climbing doesn't really affect electrolyte needs, except that when climbing you're more likely to be sweating and thus losing electrolytes. A warm windy day can cause a fair amount of sweating that you won't notice because it's evaporating.

    Different people's electrolyte needs vary. Humans supposedly have plenty of electrolytes in reserve but for some reason some people run low after hours of exercise. So some people don't need any supplements while others do.

    Did the Endurolytes help? If so, then you may have been low on electrolytes. In my experience if I am low on salt and get some, I perk up noticeably in about 10 minutes. If they didn't help, then you wern't low on electrolytes, you were cramping due to muscle overuse. You fix that by training.

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    How fast would you expect electrolytes to begin "working"? You indicated 10 minutes after taking salt tablets.. I would assume Endurolytes to take effect quite rapidly as well. Yeah, yesterday's ride was relatively warm, but hard to say since it was so windy. And as you mentioned, it's hard to tell how much sweat I was producing since my clothes were completely dry. All the electrolytes I was taking didn't seem to help. I do believe my problem was overuse of muscles.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Richard Cranium's Avatar
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    in our group stopped to assist me. He advised that I should probably be downing about 6 Endurolytes. Up to that point, I had taken 2 Endurolytes before the ride started. And two more before he advised me I should take more.
    Pretty silly.

    One certainly interesting aspect of human nature is that when the topic is diet supplements - the axiom "more must be better" - is almost universally applied.

    Idoru, I'm sorry you had a rough experience on your recent ride. It sounds like you were on a very difficult ride and suffered quite a bit due to the prevailing conditions.

    There's nothing about you, or the information in your post that indicates that sodium, or any other dietary deficiency had anything to do with your physical distress. Although my "guess" would consider dehydration as a possibility.

    There are a variety of Hammer products that are very helpful to highly trained, highly motivated athletes who understand their exercise intensity and how nutritional supplements can aid in their performance.

    Unfortunately, often average cyclists, who have little understanding of physiology, and very little understanding of their own training status and exercise intensity capacity will wrongly turn their attention to some external subject as a means of overcoming their limitations.


    Hammer Nutrition has done a remarkable job of misrepresenting the relationship between exercise in general and the need for mineral supplements. This forum story is a great example of complete ignorance of nutritional concepts and the role minerals play in exercise. (probably as a result of Hammer's marketing materials)

    That's too bad. These are the types of situations that can lead to negative, and some times dangerous outcomes. Again, please understand, dedicated, experienced athletes can benefit from nutritional supplements after they have learned and experienced their individual exercise intensities and limitations.

    Trying to take multiple doses of a supplement for instant relief, or "taking supplement doses" based on some people on the Internet is simply non-sense.

  5. #5
    Senior Member ericm979's Avatar
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    With Endurolytes you need a lot because each one has so little sodium. They're mostly filler. I like them because an entire salt tablet can be a bit much, but if I feel like I need just a little salt an Endurolyte or two will provide that.


    I first noticed that I needed salt on a long hot 200km organized ride. I started feeling sick (the first sign of low electrolytes for me) before a rest stop, and hung out there for a while eating pretzels. Suddenly I felt a whole lot better, and I realized it was the salt on the pretzels.

  6. #6
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    I take 1-2/hr., but everyone is different. You know you're taking enough if you feel that drinking about 1 bottle/hr sounds like a good idea. IOW, take Endurolytes to create thirst, then drink to that thirst. If you feel like you're forcing water, take more. If you are thirsty all the time, take less. My metric is that I like to drink enough so I have to pee every 2-3 hours. If I don't, I know I have to drink more, i.e., take more Endurolytes.

    But yeah, you probably just overdid it. Cramps seldom develop from electrolyte imbalance, almost always from overuse. In spite of the conventional wisdom to the contrary. Studies of LD athletes have confirmed this.

  7. #7
    Roadie brian416's Avatar
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    For what its worth, the only time I get cramps is when I take endurolytes, I've heard the same thing from several other people also. But, I've met other people who love them and take them religously.

  8. #8
    umd
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    Like Eric I only seem to get cramps on really long and hot rides. I don't think I've ever gotten one less than 6 hours in. The times I was able to scrounge up some endurolytes they have helped stave off the cramping. By cramping I mean total leg lock. It's only happened a few times but it's hell when it does. I've always been covered in a crust of salt on my face and clothes when it's happened.

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    Exercise and effective salt replacement

    General health guidelines in most countries advocate the reduction of salt intake for good health. However, this advice may be too simplistic for athletes who lose significant amounts of salt during exercise. A study (commissioned by the Salt Manufacturers Association) on professional footballers in the UK found that some players lose as much as 10 grams of salt in a 90-minute training session.

    Athletes have higher fluid and sodium requirements than sedentary individuals. For the general population, the recommendation is to limit sodium intake to 2.3 grams per day, which is equivalent to 5.8 grams of salt. The rationale for this guideline, is that excessive sodium intake causes high blood pressure in individuals who are 'salt sensitive'. Because most people only require 1.5 grams of sodium per day, it makes sense from a public health perspective to recommend reduced intakes. Athletes, however, need significantly more sodium than their inactive counterparts; the exact amount varies greatly between individuals, depending on sweat volume and sweat sodium concentration.

    Some athletes may require more than 10 grams of sodium per day to make up for the amount lost in sweat. Athletes also require more fluid than sedentary individuals - up to 10 litres per day. Both dehydration and sodium depletion adversely affect athletic performance. However, it is difficult to differentiate between the two because they occur simultaneously and have similar negative consequences.

    Dehydration and hyponatremia

    Dehydration due to an imbalance between fluid loss and intake is the most common cause of heat-related illness in athletes. Athletes may lose water at a rate of 0.5-1.5 L/h and up to 6-10 percent of their body weight. Water is lost from all fluid compartments, resulting in decreased sweating and impaired heat dissipation.

    The decline in blood volume decreases blood pressure and cardiac output. Heart rate increases by 3-5 bpm for every one percent of body weight lost to compensate for decreased stroke volume. Skin blood flow is also decreased, further reducing the ability to decrease body temperature. Symptoms of heat-related illness are headache, nausea, dizziness, apathy, confusion, exhaustion and chills. Performance declines markedly due to decreased muscle perfusion. Paradoxically, gastric emptying is slowed, impairing fluid absorption and restoration of fluid balance. The risk of heat-related illness is increased by exercise in hot and humid environments, the use of diuretics, and by increasing age.

    A disproportionate amount of fluid lost in sweat is from the extra-cellular fluid (ECF), the fluid outside of the cells, including the blood plasma. The average concentration of sodium in sweat is 1150 mg per litre, but can vary greatly (450 mg to 2300 mg per litre). Assuming a sweat rate of 1.5 litres per hour, an athlete with sweat of average saltiness would lose about 1700 mg of sodium per hour. Excessive sweating, combined with consumption of plain water in copious amounts (e.g., 10L in 4 hours), results in a sodium deficit, i.e., dilutional hyponatremia.

    The symptoms of hyponatremia are disorientation, confusion, seizure, and coma. This condition is quite rare and most often occurs in marathon and ultra-marathon type events lasting longer than three hours and in individuals who ingest a large volume of fluid without electrolytes.

    Exercise-associated muscle cramps (EMAC)

    The belief that dehydration and the concurrent electrolyte imbalances, secondary to heat stress, cause muscle cramps is prevalent. However, if this were the case, one would expect widespread, as opposed to localised, muscle cramps. EMAC are usually localised to a specific muscle group, rather than globally affecting all skeletal muscles. A recent study of ultra-marathon runners found no differences in hydration status or blood electrolyte concentrations between runners who suffered cramps and those that did not. Similarly, a study of cramp-prone athletes found that the incidence of cramps was not affected by hydration status. An alternative explanation for EMAC, is that neuromuscular fatigue causes the muscle to become 'hyper-excitable' so that the muscle does not relax, but remains contracted. Regardless of the cause of cramps, dehydration and sodium depletion negatively affect performance.

    Fluid and sodium intake during exercise

    Ideally, athletes should drink 8-12 ounces (240-350ml) of fluid every 15-20 minutes during exercise. If a training session or competition exceeds one hour, a commercial fluid replacement beverage that contains carbohydrates and sodium is superior to plain water.

    Exogenous carbohydrate maintains blood glucose concentrations, so glycogenolysis is delayed. Sodium increases the palatability of the beverage and enhances fluid consumption and replacing some of the sodium lost in sweat will reduce the risk of hyponatremia. The recommended concentration of sodium in a fluid replacement beverage is 500-700 mg per litre. Most sports drinks contain sodium, although the amount varies from 300 to 650 mg per litre.

    An alternative to commercial fluid replacement beverages is easily prepared by adding - teaspoon of salt to one litre (32 ounces) of water, which is equivalent to about 600 and 1200mg of sodium per litre. Salt (sodium chloride) tablets are available, but eight ounces of fluid (250mL) must be consumed with every 200mg of sodium so that the concentration of sodium in blood does not rise too rapidly. Salt tablets are more effective and better tolerated (they may cause gastrointestinal problems in some people) if they are crushed and mixed with water.

    The fluid that is consumed must be emptied from the stomach and absorbed from the intestine to be of any benefit. The rate of gastric emptying can reach one litre per hour and is maximized when gastric volume is high (>600mL), solutions are hypotonic, and the carbohydrate concentration is 4-8 percent. The rate of fluid absorption is negatively affected by high intensity exercise (>80 percent maximal oxygen consumption, VO2max), carbohydrate concentrations that exceed 8 percent, and dehydration (>4 percent BW).

    Fluid and sodium intake post-exercise

    Rehydration after exercise is important because most athletes do not consume enough fluids during exercise to replenish the fluid lost in sweat and respiration. In general, an athlete should consume 24 ounces of fluid (709 millilitres) for every pound of weight lost during an exercise session. The excess fluid consumption is to offset the 'obligatory urine losses' that occur when a large volume of water is consumed within a short period of time. Obligatory urine losses can be minimised by drinking a beverage that contains sodium and by eating foods that are high in sodium after exercise: pretzels, pickles, pizza, cheese, tomato sauce, soy sauce, tomato juice, canned soups, and ketchup.

  10. #10
    umd
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    Nice plagarism there. Don't you think you should credit your source?

  11. #11
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    Thanks everyone, I think based on what I've read and what I've experienced, I no longer believe my cramping problems are related to pre-ride, and on-the-bike nutrition. I feel i'm definitely pushing myself beyond my capabilities at least on all of the climbing rides I've done during which I've cramped.

    Speaking to Richard Cranium's post, I admit to be pursuing "external reasons" for the cause of my cramping. But after tweaking my nutrition over the past couple of months, I'm feel pretty confident I can eliminate nutrition as the cause.

    At this stage with my climbing century coming up pretty quickly (mid-April). There's not much more I can do to improve my overall readiness in time for the century other than lowering my expectations and shooting for completing a lower mileage goal. I am completely at peace with this prospect. I'm also considering tweaking the gearing on my bike to give me a little better chance to getting through some of the climbs without pushing myself to the point of cramping. I'm also analyzing the course route and putting a plan in place to give myself plenty of breaks to give my body a chance to recover throughout the ride.

    Any last minute advice you can give is much appreciated.

    Thanks!

  12. #12
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    Don't be too hard on the boy, umd. This is one of the first things that's entirely true that he's ever posted. I call that progress. Still needs some training on etiquette.

  13. #13
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    Last minute advice? Wear a HRM. Don't let your HR ever get over 85% of your MHR, and mostly keep it under 75%. Choose gears that will enable you to turn at least 75 cadence on the steepest sustained climb.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Jed19's Avatar
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    Endurolytes does work. When I am cramping real bad on hot summer rides (I very rarely cramp any other season), I open two Endurolyte capsules and down the powdery content directly with a full bottle of water, and I get almost instant relief.
    Regards,

    Jed

  15. #15
    umd
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    Quote Originally Posted by idoru2005 View Post
    At this stage with my climbing century coming up pretty quickly (mid-April).
    Mulholland Challenge?

  16. #16
    umd
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
    Don't be too hard on the boy, umd. This is one of the first things that's entirely true that he's ever posted. I call that progress. Still needs some training on etiquette.
    I knew it wasn't his own work because the grammar wasn't horrible.

  17. #17
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    Umd, no, Mt. Laguna Bicycling Classic. http://www.adventurecorps.com/mlbc/

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