Interestingly, other researchers have found that even just a mouthwash with a cold slushy ended up improving performance during a cycling time trial. Actually ingesting the slushy had further benefits in terms of athletes reporting more “thermal comfort” and a tendency towards decreased perceived exertion (meaning the exercise felt more comfortable and easier after drinking the slushy) (5).
And some of the more recent research suggests a performance benefit during exercise as well. Stevens et al (2013) had male athletes complete a simulated Olympic Distance triathlon, with a 0.9 mile swim, 1 hour cycling trial (at a standardized intensity), and a 10km run (self-paced), in 90 degree (F) heat. During the cycling, the athletes either consumed a room temperature drink or consumed an ice slurry. Those who drank the ice slurry had reduced gastric temperature, reduced perception of heat stress, and better performance time (6).
The next few days are going to be HOT, so if you’re training at all, you might consider giving this a try. Before your workout, simply down some plain shaved/crushed ice before heading out for the run or ride. If you have a fridge that has this the “crushed ice” function, it should be pretty easy. If not, you could blend some ice cubes with a little water in a blender to get that slushy consistency.
And if you’re going out for a long workout, you could also consider blending some ice cubes with some sports drink for pre-workout hydration/fueling. Along the same lines, you could try eating a popsicle for a pre-workout snack. This might be relevant for those of you who eat breakfast a while before your long workout and then like to enjoy a little carb intake right before the exercise, or for those of you who don’t like eating breakfast (not recommended, but I know it happens) and simply eat a gel or blocks before heading out for your long workout. On very hot days, you may feel better by whipping up a Gatorade snow cone or a Ironman Perform slushy and having that directly before exercise (rather than the gel or blocks beforehand). Of course, you know what works best for your body, so experiment during training and find the strategy that’s right for you.
Share with us: Will you try the slushy trick before a workout?
- Jones PR, Barton C, Morrissey D, Maffulli N, Hemmings S. (2012). Pre-cooling for endurance exercise performance in the heat: a systematic review. BMC Med. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23249542
- Siegel R, Maté J, Watson G, Nosaka K, Laursen PB. (2012). Pre-cooling with ice slurry ingestion leads to similar run times to exhaustion in the heat as cold water immersion. J Sports Sci; 30(2):155-65. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22132792
- Yeo ZW, Fan PW, Nio AQ, Byrne C, Lee JK. (2012). Ice slurry on outdoor running performance in heat. Int J Sports Med. 2012 Nov;33(11):859-66. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22730052
- Dugas J. (2011). Ice slurry ingestion increases running time in the heat. Clin J Sport Med; 21(6):541-2. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22064722
- Burdon CA, Hoon MW, Johnson NA, Chapman PG, O'Connor HT. (2013). The Effect of Ice Slushy Ingestion and Mouthwash on Thermoregulation and Endurance Performance in the Heat. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23535809
- Stevens CJ, Dascombe B, Boyko A, Sculley D, Callister R. (2013). Ice slurry ingestion during cycling improves Olympic distance triathlon performance in the heat. J Sports Sci. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23506436