Old 05-01-14, 06:33 AM
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Originally Posted by mrkano View Post
So electrolytes are the only essential? What about energy gels? Because you don't necessarily get energy from electrolyte products do you?
No! You Don't!

Electrolytes and energy foods are two separate, different things that serve different physiologic needs...

The body needs energy -- and carbs are the simplest, most efficient source of that energy.

But, to use that energy, the body needs to maintain its balance (called "homeostasis") of electrolytes. Without the proper balance of electrolytes, your body cannot process the energy and bad things happen. Usually, your body is incredibly adept at maintaining that balance. But, when you sweat it out or overly dilute it with massive quantities of pure water, your system is overwhelmed and falls out of homeostasis.

When you go on a hard, long, hot ride, you FIRST need hydration, THEN you need energy, THEN you need electrolytes.... In that order. And, depending on the length, exertion and heat, you may need only one or two (or maybe none) of those things.

(Some people advocate starting with the energy -- and they have a point because it takes your body longer to process the energy than it does hydration. So, if you are planning a long ride, it may make sense to take energy right along with the hydration)

edit to add: AND: your body also needs things like protein, vitamins, electrolytes and certain minerals -- but they are more long term and best acquired by a complete and healthy diet...

Last edited by GeorgeBMac; 05-01-14 at 06:45 AM.
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