AthletesInsights & InspirationHow does it work?PricingCoaches
Back to Insights & Inspiration

Should I take bicarb as a cyclist to support my performance?

Yes, you can consider bicarb supplements to enhance short, high-intensity performance, such as repeated sprints lasting 30 seconds to around 4 minutes. However, it's important to be mindful of potential negative side effects. Remember: start with well-balanced diet as your primary strategy to optimize overall performance, before considering supplements.

Image of The Athlete’s FoodCoach
Written by: The Athlete’s FoodCoach, on 21-12-2023
Sepp Kuss taking bicarb supplement

Why can taking bicarb support my performance?

Bicarb is one of the buffers that is naturally present in our blood and ensures that the pH of our blood remains within the good range. Adding extra bicarb via a supplement increases the buffer capacity of our blood. During high-intensity efforts, when lactate/lactic acid is produced, the blood will get more acids. Having extra buffer capacity available to counteract this and can therefore improve short, high-intensity types of performance, like repeated sprints/efforts from 30 seconds till around 4 minutes.

How do I get my bicarb intake on point?

Sodium bicarbonate is a product that is used in many households, as baking soda. However with the aim to boost performance, opt for supplementing bicarb capsules or a specific designed bicarb product (e.g. Maurten) instead of simply dissolving sodium bicarbonate powder (baking soda) in water, to reduce the salty taste and the risk for GI issues. When using capsules, use the following approach:

  1. Timing: Aim to have your bicarb supplement about 2 hours before the start of the (high-intensity part of) exercise.
  2. Amount: Take 0,3g of sodium bicarbonate per kilogram of bodyweight (f.e. 21g for a 70kg person). Always drink a lot of water together with the supplement.

It's good to keep the potential side-effects of bicarb in mind. As bicarb (a base) needs to be bound to a salt, the actual supplement is sodium bicarbonate. The relatively large amount of sodium might cause gastrointestinal issues, like a bloated feeling or worse. Therefore, it’s good to practice the use of bicarbonate really well in training before implementing it in a race. Furthermore, the intake of sodium will increase fluid retention, causing an increased weight during the day/the next morning.

Use The FoodCoach App to structure your training and receive customized nutrient recommendations. Use bicarb supplements cautiously alongside the personalized nutrition plan. As with any supplement, for issue solving please consult a FoodCoach expert for further guidance.

Creating a bicarb shot

Popular Bicarb supplements:

Read more


Improve this blog

Our blogs aim to the make world's best nutrition insights and research actionable for you.