Endurance Hydration – The Basics

By Rachelle Healy

Many of our clients at MoreFit at some stage or another decide to enter an endurance event (2 hours or over) – here are the basics of endurance hydration.

On race day even the fittest people can suffer the consequences of a poor hydration and nutrition strategy. This article is focusing on hydration. Even though this is geared at Endurance, those of you taking part in the Hyde Park Run will benefit from hydration guidelines in this article.

As much as you prepare physically for events, hydration and nutrition are often the difference between crossing the finishing line well, crossing it in bits or not crossing it at all.

Recently I had the pleasure of being the nutritionist for the UK only 4 man team to participate in the Race Across America. RAAM is a 3000 mile race from the West – East side of the USA, crossing 12 states and climbing 170 000 vertical feet.

To give you an idea of RAAM:

  • The RAAM route is around 30% longer than the Tour de France. Racers must complete the distance in roughly half the time allowed for the Tour.  The Spinhalers completed in under 7.5 days with all riders finishing in great condition – considering!
  • Our team of 4 riders weighed between 67kg and107kg which meant each members requirements in terms of hydration, electrolytes and calorie consumption were very different and had to be individualised.
  • The team were racing in extreme conditions such as the desserts in Kansas and climbing the Rocky Mountains in extreme heat with a lack of shade or breeze. The protocols in place and monitoring our riders throughout was essential to the success of the trip and rider welfare.
  • It was vital we had a system in place, vital we monitored outcomes and adjusted accordingly and vital we were consistent in the execution of this.  Basically what I’m trying to say is you just can’t ‘wing it’ on the day!


The average person sweats between 0.8 to 1.4 litres per hour during exercise, however you need to factor in other elements such as heat, humidity,wind factor, sunburn etc as these all affect hydration levels on the day. A .5% reduction in hydration will start to affect your performance.

When hydrating, water isn’t the only thing to think about, it is essential that you supplement with electrolytes as well.

Electrolytes are important because they are what your cells (especially nerve, heart, muscle) use to maintain voltages across their cell membranes and to carry electrical impulses (nerve impulses, muscle contractions) across themselves and to other cells. Your kidneys work to keep the electrolyte concentrations in your blood constant despite changes in your body. For example, when you exercise heavily, you lose electrolytes in your sweat, particularly sodium and potassium. These electrolytes must be replaced to keep the electrolyte concentrations of your body fluids constant.

The sodium and electrolyte concentration of one litre of sweat can range from 300 mg to 3600 mg depending on the individual, and varies by diet, sweating rate, hydration, and degree of heat acclimation Under-replacing your sodium and other electrolyte losses can lead to various problems including dehydration, muscular cramping, headaches, gastrointestinal upset, nausea, fluid retention and hyponatremia.

Throughout the Race Across America, the riders would sip an electrolyte solution on the bike so they were constantly topping up their electrolyte levels.

If the riders were doing a tough shift in the heat or with hills or both, we would also add a more concentrated electrolyte tablet to their intake to counteract the excess sweating and loss of electrolytes and monitor outcomes.

It is very important to sip little and often and not drink huge amounts in one go as your intestines can only process so much at any one time, otherwise the rest will just go through you.

We used the following as a guide for hydration and monitored outcomes:

  • Average Athlete / Average Temperature: 2-0-25 oz/hr – approx 590-740 mls/hr
  • Lighter Athletes / Cooler Temperature: 16-18oz/hr – approx 473-532 mls/hr
  • Heavier Athletes / Hotter Temperature:Intakes upwards of 28oz/hr – approx. 830 mls/hr A regular-to-large size water bottle is equivalent to 20-25 oz (approx 590-740 mls) and that’s an excellent gauge to work within.

Throughout RAAM, every 30 mins we took the riderstats – how many calories in, what type of calories– fat, protein, carbohydrate, how much fluid they drank and we recorded how often they peed and yes, what colour it was, as that is a very good indication of if your body is dehydrated or not.

If their pee was dark, we would hydrate more in 250 mls increments per hour with an electrolyte tablet/drink and monitor outcomes.

Other dehydration symptoms are to look out for are:

  • Extreme thirst.
  • Extreme irritability and confusion in adults.
  • Very dry mouth, skin and mucous membranes.
  • Little or no urination — any urine that is produced will be darker than normal.
  • Sunken eyes.

The opposite to dehydration is Hyponatremia.  Drinking too much water during endurance sports is more common than you think and the result can be devastating.  Too much water causes the sodium/electrolytes in your body to become diluted. When this happens, your body’s water levels rise, and your cells begin to swell. This swelling can cause many health problems, from mild to life-threatening.

To avoid hyponatremia, fluid intake should not routinely exceed 28 oz/hr (830 ml/hr). The exceptions are heavier athletes, athletes exercising at extreme levels (prolonged periods at a high percentage of VO2Max), and athletes competing in severe environmental conditions.

During RAAM If the rider was peeing a lot, this was an indication that they didn’t have enough electrolytes in their system. Our first action was to increase their electrolyte intake and decrease their fluid intake to the minimum amount for the activity and conditions. Again, we would monitor outcomes.

A sign the body is low in electrolytes is excesspee’ing and sloshing (nausea) feeling in the stomach.

Other symptoms of hyponatremia are:

  • Vomiting.
  • Headache.
  • Confusion.
  • Loss of energy and fatigue.
  • Restlessness and irritability.
  • Muscle weakness, spasms or cramps.
  • Seizures.
  • Coma

You can also take on too many electrolytes causing Hypernatrimia.

Hypernatremia typically does not have many symptoms until your blood sodium levels are extremely high. Symptoms include dizziness when changing positions, vomiting and diarrhoea. You can help lower your sodium levels by drinking plenty of water.

During the race we used both isotonic drink solutions and Hypertonic solutions depending on what was required.

Isotonic drinks contain similar concentrations of salt and sugar as in the human body.

  • They quickly replace fluids lost through sweat and supply a boost of carbohydrate.
  • They are the preferred choice for most athletes, including middle and long-distance running or those involved in team sports. Hypertonic drinks contain a higher concentration of salt and sugar than the human body.
  • They quickly replace fluids lost by sweating.
  • Suitable for athletes who require fluid without a carbohydrate boost.

Prior to leaving for the States, the riders did a sweat test.  This involved taking their weight before and after cycling at race pace in a sauna for 30 mins in their cycling kit, helmet, gloves the lot!

Unfortunately we didn’t have the means to do the electrolyte sweat test, however what we did get was an indication on how much fluid each rider would be losing and this helped us prepare for the race ensuring we had enough water in the support cars and an indication as too how many electrolyte supplements we would need to purchase for the 24/7 race.

Following this, we put in place rehydration protocols to ensure our riders had optimal hydration.  We weighed our riders in only their underwear before and after each shift and then rehydrated as necessary.

  • For every pound of body weight lost we would replenish with 600 mls of water + electrolyte solution.
  • We also ensured we used plenty of Himalayan Rock Salt when cooking their foods as it contains many trace elements and is a super electrolyte source.
  • In these extreme events, the priority was hydration over sleep as you can exercise tired, but you can’t if severely dehydrated.

With dehydration, hyponatremia and hypernatremia you will find that if you’re monitoring outcomes and rectify the problem in the early stages through increasing/decreasing fluid intake or increasing electrolytes, the body adapts and the symptoms can disappear fairly quickly.

When planning for endurance events be it 2 hour or 24 hour + the more prepared you are, the more you monitor the more chance you have of finishing well.

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]https://www.morefit.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Rachelle-Healy-MoreFit-Personal-Trainer1.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Rachelle Healy is a Personal Trainer at MoreFit St Paul’s Motivation: “I want to make you the best version of yourself.” If you are planning an endurance event and would like some help with hydration and nutrition, please get in touch with Rachelle at Morefit St Paul’s. [/author_info] [/author]


The Stroke Association – Hyde Park Run

At MoreFit we really strive to get all our clients results. We want you all to hit your targets and keep pushing the boundaries. Stroke Association Run in Hyde Park is a great way to do something that you potentially haven’t done before and have a fun day out at the same time.

This year we’re again working with the Stroke Association hosting the warm up for the charity 5km run. We’ve been working with the Stroke Association now for 3 years.

We’d really like to see you take part in the 5km run. And run it as fast as you can. We’re donating £5 for everybody that joins the run from MoreFit and a further £5 for every male that beats 22mins over 5kms and every female that beats 24 mins over 5kms. So get training and let’s hit some targets.

The discounted entry forms are here. Please enter and get on board. £10 entry instead of £15. Click here for your discounted entry forms. We will be donating and raising money as group so feel free to do as little or as much as you like. You can get to the group fundraising page here following this link. www.justgiving.com/MoreFit-London

We have created a simple 3 week training guide for beginner runners. If you would like to get a tailor-made program for advanced running then just speak to one of trainers or email info@morefit.co.uk for more info.


3 week 5k training plan for the Stroke Association Resolution run 21st of September. The warm up will be done by MoreFit.

Well done guys for signing up. You are only 3 weeks from running at Hyde Park.

Long Runs: You should do your long runs at a comfortable, conversational pace. You should be able breathe easily and talk in complete sentences. Your easy runs should also be done at this effort. If you need to stop for a quick breath then fine. But consistent running is what it’s about.

Don’t worry if you have to stop. Just be honest with yourself and try and push as hard as possible.


Especially in hot weather make sure you’re well hydrated. You need to be drinking 2-4 litres of water per day.


You should have enough glycogen (stored sugar) energy stores in your muscles and liver to run the 5 km as long as your nutrition is right.

After every run you should refuel your glycogen stores by eating portions of complex carbs such as sweet potatoes, millet, buckwheat, quinoa, porridge and yam. Your body stores the sugar from these sources very well.

Stay away from white starches (white pasta, white bread). Your body stores the sugar from these sources poorly.


Take time to plan your days. If you’re training in the studio then just swap the run to the following day. Consult your trainer so they can go easy on the leg training before run days.

WEEK 1:  w/c Monday 1st Sept 

  • Day 1:  18 min easy run
  • Day 2:  Rest or strength training
  • Day 3:  Rest or strength training
  • Day 4:  18 min Easy run
  • Day 5:  Rest
  • Day 6:  23 min Long run
  • Day 7:  2 miles brisk walk or Rest

WEEK 2: w/c Monday 8th Sept 

  • Day 1:  Rest or strength training
  • Day 2:  23 mins easy run
  • Day 3:  Rest or strength training
  • Day 4:  25 mins fast run
  • Day 5:  Rest
  • Day 6:  25 mins interval run. 1 min fast 2 mins slow jog
  • Day 7:  2 miles brisk walk, Rest or strength training

WEEK 3: w/c Monday 15th Sept 

  • Day 1:  Rest or strength training
  • Day 2:  25 mins fast run
  • Day 3:  Rest or strength training
  • Day 4:  25 mins easy run
  • Day 5:  Rest
  • Day 6:  Rest
  • Day 7: Sunday 21st September, Hyde park Meet at the Band stand close to the Serpentine cafe. 9.45am prompt start for warm up. Arrive at 9.30 am for registration.

Good apps to use for your run are:


[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]https://www.morefit.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Shamir-Sidhu-MoreFit-Owner-Personal-Trainer.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Shamir Sidhu is the CEO/Founder of MoreFit and Personal Trainer. For fitness and nutrition advice, email info@morefit.co.uk[/author_info] [/author]

The Benefits of Vitamin D

By Anthony Masters

Now that we will soon be approaching the cold autumn and winter months, the likelihood that you are producing sufficient vitamin D is unlikely. Especially if you live in the UK where the sun seems to disappear for half of the year! Over 85% of the UK population is deficient in vitamin D during the Winter/Spring months. We should all be supplementing some amount of Vitamin D to ensure our levels do not drop too low.

Why is Vitamin D important?

  • Vitamin D is produced in our body in response to direct sunlight, it is stored within the cells of our body and plays an important role in making proteins that help regulate essential functions in the human body so that we can grow and repair.
  • Low levels of vitamin D contribute to osteoporosis, bone fractures and other bone health issues. With low calcium intake and low vitamin D levels our body struggles to maintain bone health.
  • Vitamin D assists in reducing inflammation. Many studies have found that patients with skin disorders as a result of inflammatory conditions such as eczema, acne, psoriasis and dandruff have been deficient in vitamin D.
  • Vitamin D improves blood sugar regulation, insulin sensitivity and decreases insulin resistance. Hence improved levels of vitamin D will help lower the risk of diabetes.
  • Vitamin D plays a critical role in the health of our immune systems and its ability to fight off infection. Low vitamin D levels are associated with obesity, improve your vitamin D levels and it will help improve your body composition and reduce fat.
  • Low vitamin D is associated with depression.
  • Vitamin D helps reduces risk of cancer. It has been linked with fighting various cancers such as breast, lung, colon and prostate.
  • Many studies show that Vitamin D deficiency is linked with cardiovascular disease putting you at greater risk of many autoimmune diseases such as type-1 Diabetes, Crohn’s Disease and Multiple Sclerosis.
  • Vitamin D reduces inflammation and blood pressure, controls calcification of blood vessels and improves endothelial function; all of help to reduce stress.

There are endless reasons why vitamin D is so important for us and why we should all consider taking it. Renowned strength & nutrition coach Charles Poliquin outlines a further 25 excellent reasons to take vitamin D.

How do you improve your vitamin D levels?

In terms of dietary intake, you are very limited. Best dietary sources are from oily fish (salmon, sardine and mackerel) and cod liver oil. Very little vitamin D sources are found from dairy products, egg yolk, wild mushrooms and liver.

Typically 10% of our vitamin D requirements come from our dietary intake. This means that the other 90% comes from the SUN! So expose your bare skin to the sun, this will be your best source of Vitamin D. This goes to say that you should avoid applying protective sun cream as you will prevent your body from being able to absorb UVB (ultraviolet-B) light from the sun in order to synthesis  into vitamin D.

There is much debate that sun exposure causes DNA damage and skin cancer, yes I agree that excessive exposure, enough to lead to sunburns is not a great idea, especially if you are of the paled skin type. Your body will slowly adapt to sun exposure, so start by spending just 5-10 mins in the sun at a time and gradually increasing your exposure as you become more tolerant to the sun. Just don’t overdo it, a common trend with the UK citizens when the sun shows his face.

During the summer months our body has the best chance of making vitamin D between the hours of 10am and 14pm when the wavelength of the sunlight is correct (wavelength of the light needs to be between 290-320nm) and the ratio of UVB to UVA is highest. I would also advise supplementation, especially in the winter months, well known brands such as Poliquin, Nutri or Solgar are your best choices for good quality.

How much vitamin D do I need and how should I get it tested?

There is agreement that levels below 25nmol/L (10ng/ml) qualify as deficient but beyond this there is currently no standard definition of ‘optimal’ 25(OH)D levels. Some sources suggest that levels above 50nmol/L (30ng/ml) are sufficient, while 70–80nmol/L (28-32ng/ml) is optimal. From my personal opinion having optimal levels of vitamin D will be more beneficial for numerous health reasons. Therefore if you are just below optimal I would still recommend taking a small dosage, if you are extremely deficient then consider following a vitamin D protocol to get you levels up fast.

NOTE: High levels of vitamin D can be toxic to the body, so I would recommend getting a regular blood test done by your local GP to determine how much vitamin D you have, remember to get the actual scores from your GP that tells you exactly how much you have as opposed to a simple pass or fail.


[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]https://www.morefit.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Anthony-Masters-MoreFit-Personal-Trainer.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Anthony Masters is a Personal Trainer at MoreFit St Paul’s. Having worked with clients with a variety of goals ranging from stress reduction, fat loss, rehabilitation, strength training, pre/ post natal, endurance and sport specific training he is confident to tailor a specific training program to the clients individual needs. Making every session different, challenging and fun, Anthony’s motto is “you give him 100% and he will give you 110% back” as your success is his success! [/author_info] [/author]

Knee Rehabilitation Exercises

By Richard Barrett

There are four main ligaments in the knee that can become injured. During injury, a knee ligament may be stretched (sprained), or sometimes torn (ruptured). Ligament rupture can be partial (just some of the fibres that make up the ligament are torn) or complete (the ligament is torn through completely).

Knee ligament injuries can cause pain, swelling, tenderness, bruising and reduced movement of your knee. Your knee joint may feel unstable and you may walk with a limp. Treatment of a knee ligament injury can depend on a number of things including which ligament is injured and how sporty and active you are.

Here are a few rehabilitation exercises I have used over the years with my clients. And found they really helped with recovery after injury/operation.

Knee Strengthening – Intermediate Exercises

Knee-Rehabilitation-Resistance Band Knee Extension in Sitting
Resistance Band Knee Extension in Sitting

The following intermediate knee strengthening exercises should generally be performed 1 – 3 times per week provided they do not cause or increase pain. Ideally they should not be performed on consecutive days, to allow muscle recovery. As your knee strength improves, the exercises can be progressed by gradually increasing the repetitions, number of sets or resistance of the exercises provided they do not cause or increase pain.

Resistance Band Knee Extension in Sitting

Begin this exercise in sitting with your knee bent and a resistance band tied around your ankle as shown . Keeping your back straight, slowly straighten your knee tightening the front of your thigh (quadriceps). Perform 3 sets of 10 repetitions provided it is pain free.

Resistance Band Hamstring Curl

Begin this exercise lying on your stomach with a resistance band tied around your ankle as shown. Slowly bend your knee tightening the back of your thigh (hamstrings). Perform 3 sets of 10 repetitions provided the exercise is pain free.


Squats with Swiss ball

Begin this exercise in standing with your feet shoulder width apart, your feet facing forwards and a Swiss ball placed between a wall and your lower back. Slowly perform a squat, keeping your back straight. Your knees should be in line with your middle toes and should not move forward past your toes. Perform 3 sets of 10 repetitions provided the exercise is pain free.


About Rich Richard has over 6 years experience as a professional within the health and fitness industry. He has worked with a number of clients with a wide range of needs and mixed abilities including, rehabilitation clients, athletes and clients wanting to lose weight and tone up. Richard had a background in playing and coaching competitive football and athletics, including time spent as a fitness and sports coach in Australia and America. He has worked along side physiotherapists in an injury and rehabilitation clinic helping clients back to health and mobility. To keep him in good health Richard plays football, and is a keen runner, participating in 10k and half marathons, and soon to be triathlons. Richard’s goal is that each client leaves their personal training session feeling strong, positive and energised. He enjoys motivating his clients and helping them to achieve their health and fitness goals. Exercise should be fun but effective. With the right training and guidance you can work towards changes for better health and well being and for a longer and healthier life.