If you’re training extremely hard, like with quad-incinerating intervals, or competing in extremely intense levels, like in cyclocross or criterium races, then you’ve probably heard of lactic acid. And felt that burn. And maybe you’ve heard that sodium bicarbonate can buffer that burning sensation. Maybe you’ve even tried it, then also didn’t like it, and gave up on it.
Now, Maurten says they’ve solved for the stomach and GI distress common with typical NaHCO₃ loading by combining it with a hydrogel that helps move it through the stomach quickly, where it can break down and be absorbed more slowly in the intestines. Here’s their video explanation:
The short of it is this: Extreme exercise creates Hydrogen ions, which lower muscle pH (called acidosis) and causes that burning sensation. Sodium Bicarbonate helps move those H+ ions out of the muscles faster, so you can go harder and longer.
Maurten BiCarb is sold in four-serving kits that include three parts: The mixing bowl, the hydrogel powder, and the sodium bicarbonate mini pills. The pills are dosed based on body weight and experience, and you enter your weight online when ordering, then they send the correctly sized packets.
The included gel contains about 40g of carbs, about 14g of which are sugars. You mix the powder with water to create a thick gel, then fold in the tablets when you’re ready to consume them, ideally 1.5-2 hours before training or competition.
At $65 per four-serving kit, it’s best reserved for race days and the most important training sessions. But also, they contain a LOT of sodium (4,100mg to 6,800mg, depending on dose), and recommend limiting them to 2-3 servings per week. The kit includes a link to use their app, which helps you time the pre-use meal and ingestion based on planned workout time, too.