Martijn Redegeld, nutritionist Team Jumbo-Visma, about drinking sufficiently.
How can we, as average Belgian people, ensure that we drink enough?
Most Dutch people underestimate how important it is to drink enough during the day. Unconsciously, people lose quite a lot of fluid, even if you don't notice that you're sweating. Even if you go cycling for an hour or 2 at your own pace, you can lose several liters of sweat, especially in warm weather. Even if you don't feel it. It's logical that you don't notice that, because there are no liters of sweat left in your clothes, it doesn't mean you won't lose so much sweat. Your performance will deteriorate if you don't drink enough.
Can you explain why and what the symptoms are if you drink too little?
There is a direct link between drinking and performance: by drinking enough you give your body the opportunity to sweat well. If you drink a lot, it does not mean that you automatically sweat more, it depends on many more factors. If you can sweat less, the core temperature of your body can rise too high. What people often experience first is that they lose their coordination and become light-headed. If you go one step further, the loss of moisture will lead to muscle cramps. It is even possible that after exercising during the day, at night in your bed, you still get muscle cramps due to the lack of fluids.
Can you give us 3 drinking tips to improve your sports performance?
Tip 1: Check the color of the urine several times a day. Before exercising, check how transparent it is and keep checking it afterwards to see to what extent it recovers. The more transparent it is, the better hydrated it will be.
Tip 2: Try to drink gradually, especially with a large effort. Try to take one or two large sips every quarter of an hour rather than drinking nothing for a whole hour and then empty your entire bottle at once.
Tip 3: If you want to know exactly how much fluid you are losing, stand on the scales before and after exercising. The kilos you have lost is equal to the number of liters of fluid you need to drink to replenish your fluid level.
What would you like to give to all athletic readers who want to improve their performance by drinking sufficiently?
Go prepared, make a drinking plan. If you know how much you sweat on average and you take into account how hot it is, you can calculate how much you should drink every hour or so. If, for example, that's 1 bottle per hour, then stick to that plan and drink even if you're not thirsty yet. If you're going out for a longer period of time, make sure you know where to fill your water bottle. Drinking is just as important as anything else. Sufficient food, good training, having your equipment in good order and a well-equipped start to a top performance, but often it doesn't get the attention it deserves.