A meta-analysis demonstrated that programmed fluid intake (PFI) aimed at fully replacing sweat losses during a 1 h high-intensity cycling exercise impairs performance compared with no fluid intake (NFI). It was reported that thirst-driven fluid intake (TDFI) may optimize cycling performance, compared with when fluid is consumed more than thirst dictates. However, how TDFI, compared with PFI and NFI, impacts performance during a 1 h cycling time-trial performance remains unknown. The aim of this study was to compare the effect of NFI, TDFI and PFI on 1 h cycling time-trial performance. Using a randomized, crossover and counterbalanced protocol, 9 (7 males and 2 females) trained endurance athletes (30 ± 9 years; Peak
∶ 59 ± 8 mL·kg−1
) completed three 1 h cycling time-trials (30 °C, 50% RH) with either NFI, TDFI or PFI designed to maintain body mass (BM) at ~0.5% of pre-exercise BM. Body mass loss reached 2.9 ± 0.4, 2.2 ± 0.3 and 0.6 ± 0.2% with NFI, TDFI and PFI, respectively. Heart rate, rectal and mean skin temperatures and ratings of perceived exertion and of abdominal discomfort diverged marginally among trials. Mean distance completed (NFI: 35.6 ± 1.9 km; TDFI: 35.8 ± 2.0; PFI: 35.7 ± 2.0) and, hence, average power output maintained during the time-trials did not significantly differ among trials, and the impact of both PFI and TDFI vs. NFI was deemed trivial or unclear. These findings indicate that neither PFI nor TDFI are likely to offer any advantage over NFI during a 1 h cycling time-trial.
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