“Hyperhydrator?” “Buffer?” Just what exactly does PreLoad do?

PreLoad is a special application product for intense efforts, ultra-endurance events or exercise in hot conditions. PreLoad increases plasma volume and sodium stores. It also contains aerobic and anaerobic buffers. Many call it the “secret weapon.” It’s a “triple threat” so to speak.

In a nutshell Preload:

1) Hyperhydrates to allow ~20% increase in plasma volume. Which means additional body water, so you’re going in with an “extra tank.”
2) Provides bicarbonate buffering via sodium bicarbonate; increases the body’s natural bicarbonate buffering via sodium citrate- for lactate/anaerobic system
3) Sodium citrate increases citric acid availability – for carbohydrate-aerobic system

Let me explain each of these in more detail:

1. Hyperhydration:
Exercise, particularly exercise in the heat, places large demands upon the circulatory system. Concurrently, fluid and electrolyte losses and limited or inappropriate replacement during exercise further compromises performance; a 2% body water loss can equate to ~11% decrease in VO2max.  Pre-hydration with a high-sodium fluid has been shown to decrease cardiovascular and thermal strain, and enhance exercise capacity by several mechanisms: a) increased plasma volume- by the nature of increasing the amount of fluid available for circulation AND sweating/thermoregulation, a  core temperature rise is impeded; b) the sodium+water combination reduces an osmoreceptor feedback mechanism, which further reduces core temperature rise.

  • Results: lower core temperature, greater blood volume =  greater exercise capacity.


2. Bicarbonate buffering:
Sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3) has been used as an ergogenic aid for events that depend on the generation of energy via anaerobic glycolysis- e.g. events/efforts lasting between 0-7 minutes.  Lab -and -field based experiments in swimming, running, cycling, and rowing all demonstrate an ergogenic advantage by increasing extracellular buffering capacity- allowing for blood lactate concentrations to rise 1-2mmol/L  higher than without sodium bicarbonate ingestion. Similar findings have also been reported for high-intensity performance at the end of 30-60 minutes and repeated sprint performance.

  • Results: lactate buffering to reduce metabolic acidosis in the muscle,  which increases sprint capacity.


3.  Sodium Citrate buffering:  
Sodium citrate is another alkalizing agent shown to improve anaerobic and aerobic performance. Similar to sodium bicarbonate, sodium citrate works by offsetting the increase in H+ by providing a greater buffering gradient and increasing blood pH significantly. Moreover, sodium citrate can be ingested in higher doses without the adverse gastrointestinal distress often associated with sodium bicarbonate ingestion. Sodium citrate also works upon molecular disassociation:The sodium pulls water into the plasma space (see #1) and the citrate works both as an alkalizing agent (above) but also as the precursor enzyme for the Krebs cycle (aerobic metabolism).

  • Results: lactate buffering, improved plasma volume, enhanced aerobic metabolism.


How do I use it?
We recommend using PreLoad the night before an event and the morning of the event. Why both? Here’s the answer:

– The idea behind using PreLoad the night before is to enhance the buffering capabilities. The morning of the event then maximizes the hyperhydration aspect.
– Dosage is recommended by body weight (the general agreement in the scientific literature is 10-12 milliliters per kilogram of body weight- 10-12ml/kg); mixed full strength.
– For hyperhydration, drink this dosage slowly over the course of an hour, finishing ~30 minutes before your event start.

Remember, this is a sodium plus fluid load, thus the drink is inherently salty on the palate; drinking it cold helps the bite of the salt. If you are new to Preload, it is suggested you start with one dose, either the night before or the morning of the event to see how you tolerate it.  Then gradually go full dosage. (for more specific information on usage, go to our FAQ page and look at Preload: How to implement and use effectively)

Again, PreLoad is a special application product. Not to be used every day. When used for intense efforts and races…it will be your “secret weapon” for success!!