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J Sports Sci. 2015;33(2):125-35. doi: 10.1080/02640414.2014.932918. Epub 2014 Jul 3.

Effective body water and body mass changes during summer ultra-endurance road cycling.

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a Department of Kinesiology, Human Performance Laboratory , University of Connecticut , Storrs , CT , USA.


Because body mass change (ΔMb) does not represent all water losses and gains, the present field investigation determined if (a) ΔMb equalled the net effective body water change during ultra-endurance exercise and (b) ground speed and exercise duration influenced these variables. Thirty-two male cyclists (age range, 35-52 years) completed a 164-km event in a hot environment, were retrospectively triplet matched and placed into one of three groups based on exercise duration (4.8, 6.3, 9.6 h). Net effective body water loss was computed from measurements (body mass, total fluid intake and urine excreted) and calculations (water evolved and mass loss due to substrate oxidation, solid food mass and sweat loss), including (ΔEBWgly) and excluding (ΔEBW) water bound to glycogen. With all cyclists combined, the mean ΔMb (i.e. loss) was greater than that of ΔEBWgly by 1200 ± 200 g (P = 1.4 × 10(-18)), was similar to ΔEBW (difference, 0 ± 200 g; P = .21) and was strongly correlated with both (R(2) = .98). Analysis of equivalence indicated that ΔMb was not equivalent to ΔEBWgly, but was equivalent to ΔEBW. Due to measurement complexity, we concluded that (a) athletes will not calculate the effective body water calculations routinely and (b) body mass change remains a useful field-expedient estimate of net effective body water change.


body water; dehydration; glycogen; macronutrients; sweat; urine

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