Who doses bicarb?

Who has experimented with taking sodium bicarbonate before hard sessions or races? Who’s had bad side effects? How much did you take?

I gave it a go for the first time tonight to test before a race this weekend. I took a rough 20g in 500ml (300mg per kg body weight) 60 minutes before I did Nunburnholme (4 minute vo2 intervals). It was like drinking the ocean. Had to down it without thinking about it.

Burped a lot initially before the session. Didn’t poop which was good. No other side effects for me. Except maybe a weird sensation in my head and lips after the workout. Maybe not related though.

Not sure if it had an effect. It probably did. The science says it does. The intervals still sucked. I think it’s more effective on short anaerobic efforts from what I’ve read.

But the test was successful anyway. Didn’t poop. Didn’t throw up. Will use in race.

I use AMP/Topical Edge regularly for races and some hard workouts.

1 Like

Did it help? Did you take it to prevent cramping? how did you work out 20mg per 500ml? I am using a effervescent electrolyte has 378mg Sodium bicarb per tablet I use 2 per 400ml drunk after a hard/long time on the bike it has more sodium chlorate 88mg in the mix disguised by citric acid (orange flavour) but is very expensive AU$5 per tube 20 tablets but not as offensive to drink!

I was taking it to help buffer lactate. It can actually induce cramping as a side effect but I don’t really have issues with cramping anyway. It’s apparently effective for anaerobic efforts, so maybe a little on the latter end of a vo2 effort too. Was purely a test to make sure I didn’t throw up or poop myself in a race this weekend.

I took 20 grams. Not 20 milligrams. The general consensus is that 0.3 - 0.4 grams per kilogram of body weight increases performance. They say to start off with 0.1 - 0.2 grams per kilo to test incase of side effects but I figured I’d just do the full amount.

So 68kg x 0.3 is around 20 grams. And they say to mix it with 500ml of water.

I’ve thought about the creams but can’t justify the cost when bicarb soda is so cheap from the supermarket.

1 Like

This seems a very low bar :laughing:


Yes, tried it before hard sessions. 15-20g pre-workout. No side effects.

However, stopped doing it. It simply tastes horrible. Disgusting. There is a line somewhere.

1 Like

I did some lab testing for someone’s university paper (Double blind placebo controlled tests).
Testing was to see the effectiveness on short efforts like 4km time trial/track pursuits. Managed about 5% more power any time bicarb was involved (about 440w without and 460w when using).
I’ll have to find the research paper but I think we were taking 0.4g per kg of body weight.
No upset stomach or anything like that.
Will be using again when I have a crack at state pursuit champs.


I thought the way to take it was to load it into capsules, thus eliminating the taste issue. I believe that this was the content of those ‘pills’ that were recovered by a spectator after a Paris-Roubaix crash a few years back. Hence no sanctions. Too much work for me to bother…

I’ve heard about bicarb increasing sprint performance but its not for me and I’m not sure why I decided not to take it as I take energy drinks, gels etc to perform well, also enjoy my coffee/caffeine.

Hoping not to distract from OP question but would appreciate some insights, why we allow somethings to improve performance and reject others, I’m sure it’s an obvious answer, just can’t argue it in my head at the moment!

I’m thinking like this and it’s probably wrong so please correct, we have testosterone in our bodies, but add more and that’s a no no. We have salt in our bodies and add extra bicarb (basically a salt composition?) or Caffeine (I don’t believe is naturally in our bodies) we can add and that’s okay. By all accounts all these all improve performance, but some are allowed and others not.

is it just rules?

1 Like

This one? How far in adance of the TT did you take it? Mins? Hours?

This was my initial idea as well. However, I could not source anything that did not have to swallow me dozens of pills. I could only find capsules with relatively low bicarb contents. I would need 20g. That’s a lot.

I’m in the process of trying Amp right now. It’s tough because how do you know it worked? You weren’t sore or didn’t cramp? How do you know you wouldn’t have had no soreness or cramps without the product?

In addition, it’s a greasy goopy sandy feeling product that leaves a moist and gritty layer on your skin. It also smells like Ben Gay/Icy Hot. You put it on 30 minutes before exercise, but that means when I pull my bibs on, I’m dragging the product up my body to some extent. Sometimes to places I’d rather not have menthol.

I’m having a hard time justifying the expense. It’s a product that makes sense and might work, but I’m not sure it’s worth the hassle (kind of like embrocation).

I’m confused. Why on earth would sodium bicarbonate have any effect on performance.
The chemist in me remembers this:
NaHCO3 + HCl → NaCl + H2O + CO2(g)

That’s what is happening once the stuff hit’s your stomach. That’s why you are burping (CO2) and that’s why it’s a common household remedy against acid reflux… it neutralises the acid in the stomach…

essentially you are just eating a spoon of table salt :man_shrugging:

1 Like

I’ve tried using it in the past, being attracted initially by the winning combination of performance improvement and extreme cheapness.

However the extreme “gut distress” I suffered on the third attempt meant I would not try it again except if I set the turbo trainer up in the toilet… :joy:

Plus it was genuinely like drinking water from a fish bowl

When I saw it you just bought the empty caps and filled em with bicarbonate your self.

Once saw a guy peeling off his skinsuit after a local 10m TT. He’d shat himself, it was disgusting, turned out he’s been experimenting with it. That was all the science I needed to make my conclusions on the matter.


You’re exactly right. I’ve wondered how well the creams actually work. This is why it’s better to take bicarb soda as all of the studies revolve around it and they all point to performance increases. And it’s literally a few dollars at the supermarket. Or free to try if you’ve got it in the pantry right now.

It raises your blood pH to buffer the acidity in your muscles. I’m no scientist though so :man_shrugging:

Put your bibs on and roll your legs right up. That’s what I do when I use warming up cream, or oil because I don’t want oil or cream etc over certain parts of me…

1 Like

just encountered a very fitting and accurate meme :laughing: