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  • Waltzing Raynolds

    Great article! Looking forward to reading more – good 2 see women’s individual nutritional needs acknowledged, researched, supported and finally explained.

  • Deb john

    Really looking forward to reading about how nutrition is different for post menopausal women who still race, as very little detailed info available

    • Deb Harris

      I second that!

    • Sharon MacLean Leary

      I am eagerly awaiting for that information as well.

  • Spider

    Thanks Stacy, I’ve been using your hydration products since inception – everything else I used caused stomach distress until I found your product.

    I even made the faux pas of giving some of the women’s product to my wife for her birthday – apparently this is not the appropriate day to care about her hydration requirements, luckily I backed it up with some romantic gifts as well. Note to men: product is really good, but not ‘Birthday good’.

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    • Annie.

      It should depend on who you give it to as a gift though: I’d love to have sth. like that for my birthday. I even cried (happy tears) over a new set of MTB brakes I had for Christmas (my family didn’t understand what was the matter).

      • Jessy Vee

        I got new S-works shoes for Christmas last year. I was over the moon! :D My friends didn’t understand. lol

        • Spider

          I have these pair of Troy Lee Design gloves with little diamente design near the knuckles – functional and still femanine….I haven’t got up the nerve to gift those yet (it’s been 2 years)! I guess it all depends on what we consider luxuries. If my gifts come in a Rapha or Assos bag then I’m happy!

        • Annie.

          I’m so with you! :P

  • Kimbers Wells

    The post ride 30g protein. Is that an absolute value or relative to body mass?

    • Jessi Braverman

      We’ve passed your question along to Dr. Sims. Stay tuned!

    • stan

      Hi Kimbers- (it’s Stacy, married name is Stanley…) It is an absolute value. Nicholas Burd and Stuart Phillips
      out of McMasters university have actually done some pretty interesting
      research on protein and leucine kinetics between the sexes. Men do well
      with 20-25g protein but women need a higher protein dose to get the
      leucine content of the muscle up to the point where repair occurs. It is
      all about leucine assimilation.

  • winkybiker

    “….then use thirst as a guide for the first three or four hours…”

    I was surprised to read this. If I used thirst as a guide to how much to drink on a ride, I’d finish each long ride hugely dehydrated, gulping water to try to catch up. Unless I deliberately drink (and eat) early and continuously throughout a long ride, I know the man with hammer is catching me fast. If I wait until I’m either thirsty or hungry, it is way, way too late.

    • stan

      Hi- Women are more predisposed to hyponatremia (article on this is slated soon!), so the drink to thirst is a starting point. You may find that on hotter days, you need to drink more than what your thirst dictates, that’s fine, just don’t exceed 800-900ml/hour. Be preemptive- I do have athletes who wait too long and feel super thirsty before they start drinking; this opens up the proverbial can-of-worms: you can’t stop drinking or get ahead of your thirst. Be smart about it, is what I’m trying to guide. One effect means of determining what you need is to use pee sticks to determine urine specific gravity (hydration status) before and after you ride- do a test. Find your Usg before you ride, drink what you think you need, then Usg after you ride and see how far along the dehydration scale you’ve gotten. For most, they will hover ~1.025 post ride when they’ve hydrated well. And please make sure that there is a combination of sodium and glucose in your drink!

      • winkybiker

        800ml – 900ml per hour is a large fluid intake (even for me at 72kg), though. That’s two bidons per hour. More than most would drink, other than perhaps on a very hot day. The risk of over-hydrating and developing hyponatremia seems far less likely than dehydration.

        • Annie.

          I usually drink about 1 large bottle (700 ml) per hour on hot days. I always wondered whether it’s only me who need to drink that much as most men in our group drink much less. However, when we do long rides (especially, but not only on rather hot days), they seem to get tired quicker than I do even though most of them should be much better than me regarding endurance as they have trained many years longer than I have. So I see my hydration status as kind of an advantage. :)

  • Old Lady Cyclist

    Very interesting, but this leaves out some women, it would seem. I’d be interested in reading more about physiology for post-menopausal women trying to improve endurance cycling performance.

  • Natalie Grieve

    Hi, does this advice apply to women taking hormonal contraceptives? Would be interesting to see how these affect performance as there does not appear to be much research in this area.

    • Jessi Braverman

      Dr. Sims is checking in daily to address questions and comments here, so stay tuned!

    • Stacy

      Hey Natalie- contraceptives- there are many different types, so I will touch on the most common ones. The triphasic OCP (three weeks of increasing or steady levels of estrogen with increasing levels of progestin, followed by a withdrawl bleed), monophasic OCP(steady dosage of estrogen and progestin), progestin only mini-pill, and the IUD or progestin implants.
      With the combined OCP (tri or mono phasic), there are effectively three high hormone weeks followed by a withdrawl bleed-note this bleeding is not the same as a natural menstrual cycle as it is not a low hormone week- the body has a rebound of natural estradiol production, mimicking the natural luteal phase. The bioavailability of the synthetic hormones is 6-8 times that of the natural cycle. Thus side effects in performance and health are often noted- e.g. migraines brought on with the withdrawl bleed- due to sudden shift of blood pressure and vasoconstriction-dilation control of vessels; blunted VO2peak (progestin increase the stimulation of the phrenic nerve, increasing respiratory drive- which can also contribute to issues at altitude), and blunted anaerobic capacity. With the progestin-only mini pill and implants, the progestin does have the catabolic effect, increasing leucine needs of an athlete on the progestin only pill, it does also increase core temperature (progesterone is thermogenic), and increases sodium losses (progesterone and its synthetics compete with the same receptor site as aldosterone). THe IUD is localized progestin, thus the systemic effects are not noticeable.
      Thus the take away is on phasic OCP- know that your body performs as if it is in the high hormone (luteal) phase of the natural cycle, even during the withdrawl bleeding week. The progestin -only mini pill and implants increases sodium losses and muscle breakdown- thus paying attention to sodium needs and protein intake (esp after exercise) becomes paramount. The IUD has the least effects, as the progestin is localized. I recommend to my athletes that if they need to be on contraception, that they look to the progestin -only or IUD options, as the side effects can more easily be mitigated through diet than phasic OCPs .
      I hope this helps!

      • Natalie Grieve

        Hi Stacy, thanks very much for that! Have been on some form of hormonal contraception for 20 years now due to endometriosis. Just switched from Depo Provera to Mirena IUD, so will see how that goes. The only physiological issue I experienced (that I was aware of) with Depo was fatigue. Love the Osmo Products, particularly the recovery drink.

        • Stacy

          Let me know how it goes, there can be some adjustments that can be diet mediated.

        • Wames

          It was so great to read this!! I have had issues with endometriosis but luckily, not till later in life. I am 37 and had an ovary removed about 4-5 years ago and recently started having other issues. I just started on Nuvaring to hopefully help control the endometriosis. I haven’t been on birth control since I was 25. I started with a coach and have gotten much more serious about racing in the past year or so. I have been a voracious reader of fitness and nutrition for years and feel very frustrated with maintaining a good race weight while balancing enough proper food intake to feel strong while training/racing.

    • Anne-Marije Rook
  • mt

    It will be interesting to read these references cited especially regarding the ( combined I am presuming here) oral contraceptive pill’s (cocp) cited effect on raising progesterone levels – as they usually suppress the ovarian cycle and hence the usual oestrogen and progesterone peaks.

  • Annie.

    Very interesting article! Thank you very much, and, please, more of that! I often thought about it as, for example, I tend to get bad headaches, bonk earlier usw. during my high-hormone-phase.

    I always asked myself why and also, why that seems to be worse in my case than with other women (so maybe, there’s a variation between women in how much hydration is disturbed?). Also, I had this question on proteine intake etc., and never read anything about it anywhere; so thank you very much indeed!

    • Jessi Braverman

      Dr. Sims is checking in to answer questions and comments, so stay tuned! She’ll weigh in soon.

      • Annie.

        Thanks a lot!

  • Rebecca W Keller

    Great article! Can we have some information for post menopausal women. I know we are not expected to perform like our younger counterparts but we are actually still athletes, competing, training and winning. Is there any information on how the lack of estrogen after menopause changes all that you’ve written above? There is almost nothing in the literature. Thanks!

    • Stacy

      Hi Rebecca- it’s coming!

  • Camille

    Really interesting article, but like some other women have commented, I would love to see an article that addresses the needs of postmenopausal women. I am 63 years old and a former cat 2 racer. I ride between 150 and 200 miles a week. I like to stay in racing shape so my rides are pretty in intne. I struggle with recovery and nutrition and other age-related issues.There are lots of us badass older women out there so please keep us in mind for future articles.


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