Get Race Ready with Sobeys


Get Race Ready with Sobeys – This Week: The Importance of Staying Hydrated

With race day getting closer you may be using this time to train for the upcoming Tour de Hans. While training is important, you can’t forget to think about hydration as proper hydration is needed for best performance and also your safety.

Most people need to drink 2 to 3 litres of fluid a day to stay hydrated, and to keep the body working properly. During exercise we often sweat which is our body’s natural way to cool itself down when our internal body temperature is rising. Fluid lost from sweat during exercise needs to be replaced in order to stay hydrated. Water is an effective and calorie free way to quench your thirst

Adding some flavor to your water can help make it more appealing and help keep your taste buds from losing interest.

  • Add some fresh or frozen fruit, veggies, or herbs to your water. Cucumber, basil, mint, watermelon, and berries can do the trick
  • Slice some citrus fruit (lemon, lime, orange) to give your water a fresh zesty taste
  • Freeze berries in ice cubes and add to your water

Water is the best choice for staying hydrated before and after exercise. However, the recommendations for what to drink during exercise depend on how you are training.

  • If you are training for 60 minutes or less of if you are training at an indoor facility water is usually your best choice
  • If you are training for more than 60 minutes, you sweat a lot and notice cakey white salt lines OR if you are training outdoors during hot and humid weather, than sports drinks are recommended during activity

In addition to providing fluid for hydration, sports drinks also provide sodium and potassium, two minerals that are lost when you sweat. Normally we get sodium and potassium from our diets, but we can’t replace these minerals lost in sweat quickly if we drink only water for hydration in these scenarios.

So is there any harm in consuming sports drinks when water would be enough? It’s best to choose a sport drink only when you need it and go for water otherwise. Why? In addition to sodium and potassium, sports drinks contain sugar and calories that aren’t needed in less intense activity.

Excessive sweating and inadequate fluid intake can result in dehydration.

Symptoms of dehydration include:

  • dizziness, confusion
  • excessive thirst,
  • dry mouth/tongue,
  • fainting,
  • decreased urination,
  • dark or bright yellow urine,
  • weakness,

It is important that if you have any of these symptoms that you seek immediate medical attention to treat dehydration.

Hungry for more? Sobeys Dietitians are available at select locations in Ontario and have a world of healthy ideas to help you eat better, feel better and do better.  Like Sobeys Dietitians on Facebook and follow @sobeysdietitian on Twitter for tasty recipes and helpful nutrition tips!

Find the Sobeys location nearest you by clicking here.

Sobeys Dietitian – Colleen Miller MHSc, RD, CDE




Get Race Ready with Sobeys – This Week: What you eat will play a key role in your performance

As you prepare to embark on your 50 or 100 km Tour de Hans ride, what you eat is going to play a key role in your performance.  Good nutrition can increase energy levels, prevent dehydration, lower risk of injury and help with recovery.

During endurance events, your body uses mostly carbohydrates for fuel.   Carbohydrates-rich foods include whole grain products, vegetables, fruits and legumes.  Carbohydrates are stored as glycogen (energy) in your muscles and liver; your body will use this for energy when you exercise.   Therefore, having a diet rich in carbohydrates will help you exercise longer and faster.

During the time leading up to your event follow these basic nutrition guidelines:

  • Eat every 3 to 5 hours so that you don’t get too hungry or have low energy levels.
  • Balance carbohydrate, protein and fat by choosing foods from 3 of the 4 food groups at each meal. A copy of Canada’s Food Guide can be found at Health Canada (
  • Have snacks from 1 to 2 food groups.

Remember that endurance athletes need more fluids than a non-active person.  Fluids lubricate body parts, cushion joints and control body temperature.  You will become dehydrated if you don’t replace the water lost during exercise.  Dehydration may hurt your performance and cause weakness and confusion.   A general rule that works for most people is the 2:2:2 rule for hydration:

  • Before activity: drink 2 cups of water 2 hours before the event
  • During activity: drink 2 cups of water every hour
  • After activity: drink 2 cups of water

If the event lasts longer than 1 hour, having carbohydrate can improve performance.  It is recommended to have approximately 30 – 70 g of carbohydrate per hour in small amounts every 15 – 20 minutes.  Try one of the following; they give about 30 grams of carbohydrate.

  • 10-20 candies
  • 1 small box (40 g) raisins
  • 1 fruit and veggie bar
  • 1 sports or energy bar
  • 2 cups of a sports beverage
  • 1 gel pack

Always read the labels since the amount of carbohydrate may vary.  Also be sure to test these foods before the day of the event to find out how much you can handle without side effects such as energy swings, cramps or headaches.

Before your event what you eat is going to depend on your individual needs.   Generally about 2 – 4 hours before drink plenty of fluids and try to eat a meal high in carbohydrates, relatively low in protein and fibre and low in fat.  This will help to prevent hunger, keep you hydrated and boost your energy levels.  Some options are:

  • Pasta with tomato sauce and lean meat
  • Chicken and veggie stir fry with rice
  • Lower fibre cereal with low fat milk and fruit
  • Sandwich (lean meat, veggies, small amount of mayo) and a banana
  • Toast with jam and a smoothie

Once you have crossed the finish line your body is ready to store energy again, repair muscles and fill up with fluids.  To replenish glycogen stores, eat a carbohydrate rich snack within 30 minutes of your event and a balanced meal within 2 hours.  You should also include protein with meals and snacks for building and repairing muscle.

Post exercise snack ideas:

  • Chocolate milk and fruit
  • Banana and nut/seed bar
  • Smoothie made with yogurt, berries and milk
  • Greek yogurt with berries and granola
  • Granola bar, cheese string and juice

Following the above recommendations should help you prepare for your ride and give you your best shot at your optimal performance!

For more tips and nutrition information contact Sobeys Dietitian, Chelsea Allen:

Hungry for more? Sobeys Dietitians are available at select locations in Ontario and have a world of healthy ideas to help you eat better, feel better and do better.  Like Sobeys Dietitians on Facebook and follow @sobeysdietitian on Twitter for tasty recipes and helpful nutrition tips!

Find the Sobeys location nearest you by clicking here.