Need help with hydration

I am a very heavy sweater and salty as well. It usually leads to cramping every race.

What I did in training and for my last race, thanks to a couple threads here, was 1/2 cup table sugar, 1 scoop Gatorade for taste, 2 tea spoons Na citrate. About a 450cal, 1700mg sodium 20 oz bottle. Approximately 60-75 min per bottle as well as another 20oz bottle of just water per hour.

As far as energy is concerned, it works really well and in my last race, I didn’t cramp (though a cool weather prob helped a lot). However what I’ve noticed is that about 2.5-3 hrs into a workout or race, I start to pee a ton. Almost every 20-30 min I have to pee. The pee is high volume and clear yet I feel thirsty and under hydrated.

It’s annoying to go to bathroom every 30 min at home and in a race, I have coast in order to pee on the bike. So I have to wait for a downhill and all the coasting costs me time.

I can’t figure out if I’m doing too much sodium or not enough sodium or too much water or not enough water. Is it a ph issue and kidneys are trying to balance protons am with sodium excretion? If anyone knows the problem, I would appreciate it.

Not an expert, but a ‘hydration enthusiast’ :slight_smile:
40 oz is 1.2 liters, so you are drinking 1 to 1.2 liters/hour, with 1700ish mg sodium/hour. That is on the very high end of what I have seen reported as sodium lost per hour in athletes (based on my recolection), so you may be overdoing the sodium. I highly doubt that you have too little sodium in that mix. The amount of water seems reasonable for a warm/hot day and a high sweat rate.
Have you tried actually measuring your sweat rate? It could be quite informative, as if you are peeing a lot and not losing water weight then you are likely drinking too much volume, while if you are losing weight and peeing a lot then maybe too much sodium is causing you to become dehydrated. I’m not sure what the acute symptoms of excessive sodium consumption during exercise are.
I’ve done this a few times while on the trainer. I weigh myself (dry and nude), along with whatever nutrition/hydration I plan on having during the ride, then after the ride weigh myself again after drying off, any unused nutrition/hydration, as well as any used hydration that I collected during the ride. This will give you a good idea of your sweat rate for those conditions and effort level.

I used to have to stop all the time to pee on group rides. Recently Ive stopped drinking either 1 hour or 2 hours before the ride, sipping only to wet the whistle. This really helped to cut down on floating teeth.

Yes. I lose about 1.5 lbs of sweat on a 60 min run on the TM.

I doubt I’m under doing volume. Because I’m very thirsty. And an hour or 2 after I stop the workout pee color changes from clear to amber.

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If numbers are accurate, and…

If gaining weight during this process, it’s too much fluid.

If not gaining weight during this process, it’s not enough sodium, either before, or during, or both.

Too much intra-workout sodium will not cause urination like this, unless it’s quite extreme.

I’m guessing you’ll probably need more sodium in your pre-workout beverages and intra-workout beverages to prevent the need to urinate, assuming your numbers are accurate. But they might not be…

I’ll estimate 39 oz fluid based on total capacity of 40 fl oz, and at least a small portion of that volume being occupied by powder.

Is there a chance the bottles you’re using are actually 22-24 oz?

39 oz water / 33.814 oz / L = 1.15 L water.

1700 mg sodium / 1.15 L water

= 1478 mg / L

Typically that’s high enough concentration for a person to hold the fluid they’re consuming… unless fluid consumption exceeds 1 L per hour, in my experience.

Quick note: Sodium citrate could be sitting at the bottom of your bottle, too. Check for that. Shake vigorously.

If you’re going to target 1.1-1.3 L fluid per hour, and you’re finding yourself passing a lot of the fluid through, you may benefit by bumping it up to 1800-1900mg/L.

One final error check. You mention two teaspoons of sodium citrate, plus a scoop of gatorade, coming out to 1700mg sodium citrate.

I think one tsp sodium citrate + one large scoop of Gatorade is likely 1700mg of sodium. Roughly 450 mg from the Gatorade 3 servs, IIRC + ~1200mg from the tsp of sodium citrate.

You sure you’re using 2 tsp? If yes, then you might actually be getting more like 3000mg / L. While that’s not 30,000, it’s still almost double what I typically recommend per hour… so it might be enough to cause a later diuresis (urine production) if you’re chasing with lots of water too.

Seems unlikely to be a pH issue, though I’d happily review evidence anyone has to the contrary.

There’s a lot going on here.

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Thx for the reply.
The bottles I’m using are 21 oz podium bottles and 20oz generic bottles for water. I go through those roughly in 60-75 min.

I apologize. It’s 2x1/2 tsp so 1 teaspoon of sod citrate which is 1400mg and the scoop of Gatorade has 150mg. So 1550mg rather than 1700. Im including the nutrition labels.

I can always try to go to 2000mg and see if it helps but I don’t have a long workout on the plan for a while since I just did my IM. My skin and clothes are covered in salt usually and after the IM bike I have to wash my head because the salt runs down in my eyes on the run.


Stream of consciousness thinking below.

  1. It’s worth trying a bit more salt. I’m not sure it’ll solve it, but it may, and it’s usually the first line recommendation for too much urine production, other than drinking less water. (edit: see #3 below!)

  2. If that doesn’t then try dramatically less salt. Perhaps that’s just a lot more salt than you personally need and your body has a higher adaptability of sweat salt content than most. (ie. sweat salt increases by more for you than for others, when you consume copious sodium). If this solves it, then I’ll happily eat my words and @toyman will be correct. I’m very curious. I don’t think this is it, but it’s not impossible. If I’ve learned anything through many years, it’s that there are always edge cases that will surprise you at the extremes of physiology.

  3. Wait… are you sure you’re a heavy sweater and not just a salty sweater? How do you know? Reason I ask is, the normal reason for peeing a lot is overconsumption of fluid. If you’re overconsuming fluid and including high sodium, you might be driving up thirst a bit, but also have so much fluid onboard that

    I have not studied thirst mechanisms enough to know if blood sodium levels are a primary driver or if it’s total body water. (yes there are probably two dozen other things).

    Based on how often things are chemoreceptor-based for homeostatic mechanisms, it’s possible that it’s sodium concentration dependent more than it is total body water dependent. Thus, thirst goes up with very slightly exceeded sodium

    And…leave it to Dr. Google to hit me right in the confirmation bias:
    How does the thirst mechanism prevent hypernatremia?.

    My new loose hypothesis: You might not need so much water. You’re a salty sweater but not especially heavy sweater. Sodium has been preventative for cramps for you. Consider mildly decreasing sodium concentration to prevent driving up thirst unnecessarily.

    You mentioned 1.5 lbs per hour in the comments. That’s less than 1 L per hour, indoor on a treadmill. I read that as 1.5 L per hour. Big difference! 1.5 lbs ≅ 700 mL. Indoor treadmill sweat rates are usually a LOT higher than outdoor riding sweat rates.

    Hence, you might just be consuming too much water and doing it with enough sodium to drive up thirst. Eventually your body just starts dumping both of them in your voluminous clear urine.

Leave it to the niched academic (me) to overcomplicate and look right past the potentially obvious, even when @toyman already called it out.

One more error check: I believe 1 scoop of that Gatorade, is 3 servings. I have it in my cupboard. Unless you have the small scoop, but that small scoop doesn’t generally come in the larger powder cannisters like that. It comes in the smallest plastic containers that have only ~20 servings in them.

If I’m correct, you’re getting in closer to 130-160 grams of carbs per hour, (impressive, if so), plus close to 1400-1850mg/hr sodium, at a concentration of 1600mg/L.

If none of this works, try slightly more extreme examples in every direction and see if anything changes.

2 bottles per hour will do that to you unless it’s hot AF outside.

Also the sodium seems excessive. You might be drinking the 2nd bottle as a result of thirst caused by the sodium in the 1st bottle.

I used to have really bad cramping problems myself and got on top of it with fueling, conditioning, pacing, and adequate rest prior to a big event. Sodium had little to do with it.

I would say that had more to do with the sugar than the sodium. Electrolytes are important, but fueling is way more important, IME.

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Thank you for the time you put into this. I’m definitely a heavy sweater. In fact I have never seen anyone sweat as much as I do. I live in Houston which is hot and humid but if I go run outside right now, my shirt will be soaked in 1 mile. I also play tennis and I take 4 shirts with me and need to change every 20-30 min bc the shirt is soaked with sweat.

As far as Gatorade, it says 1 and 2/3 tablespoons for the serving and they put a little scoop in there. I just assumed that scoop is 1+2/3 tbspn. It’s an odd quantity for a serving size and I can’t imagine 5 tbspn will fit in that scoop. But I’ll get measuring spoons and check.

As far as indoors, I sweat less because I have the home AC, plus a 20 in fan, a big ceiling fan, and 2 lasko fans blowing air on me. And a portable AC unit if I need it.

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Hmm. Never thought of the sugar saving my cramps. I’ll have to experiment now. :thinking::thinking:

I’ll have to set up a home race to test. Oh boy!

As another Houstonian, I feel your pain! They ran out of water at the rest stop and I had cramps so bad at Gravel Locos that I literally took turns pedaling with each leg while the other pointed straight out just to cross the finish line!

I also have the same issue with sweat/urination. I feel like I can never drink enough but somehow always drink too much. I’m following the thread closely.

Haha. Well done on finishing!

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Okay, makes sense re: 2 lasko fans, now.

Big scoop = 4.5 Tbsp.

And my reply.

Still not sure what their small scoop is. Probably something silly like 1.5 Tbsp if their logic is consistent.

This sounds like not enough electrolytes.

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I measured the scoop today with a measuring spoon. The scoop held 4 tablespoons of powder. I could prob do 4.5 if I pack it and level it off. But for practical purposes, it’s 4.

So that’s 200 calories and 400mg sodium from the Gatorade plus the 1/2 cup sugar and 1 tbspn of Na3C6H5O7 is about 570 calories and 1800mg sodium. :astonished:

I think I’ll switch to 1/3 cup sugar and try 2000mg Na.

There is some truth to this for sure.

I sweat a ton and have cramped often. I don’t cramp anymore but I do sweat still. Kit is completely white after any form of hard efforts.

My hydration plan is to stay hydrated all day every day with something like liquid IV hydration. https://www.liquid-iv.com I use a life straw water filter.

On race day I am either using LMNT https://drinklmnt.com/
if I want calories I use Maureen
https://www.maurten.com/

Lmnt easy to have on the bike. So are Nuun tablets. Also very good. Nuun I double the tablets in one bottle.

I’m not sure about Gatorade and making my own mix. Never done it but I do know from being a salty sweater that cramps the aforementioned plan and products work. I get nervous if I don’t have my game day hydration products. It will likely be a bad day.

Good luck!