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Training Hydration Tips
Staying well hydrated before, during, and after workouts is an important factor for optimal performance. Dehydration (loss of > 2% of body weight) can compromise performance and may impair mental/cognitive performance. If you are thirsty, you are most likely dehydrated; therefore it is a good idea to drink beyond your thirst. Sometimes we mistake Thirst for hunger so be sure to grab that glass of water before you grab that protein bar. Check out the recommendations below to learn how to stay hydrated during training.
Tip #1 Pre-Workout Hydration: Drink 16 oz of fluid at least 2 hours prior to exercise. Don’t overhydrate too close to your workout. Having fluids with the proper amount of sodium, magnesium, and potassium will help you avoid dehydration during your workouts.
Tip #2 Hydration During Workouts: Drinking too much water can lead to “Hyponatremia” – a dangerous condition where sodium (NaCl) in your blood becomes diluted by fluids. To know how much water or liquid to drink during training, first weigh yourself naked. Then exercise for 60 minutes and weigh yourself naked again. The difference in weight is the amount of sweat or water from your system you’ve lost. Drink fluids until your original weight returns. One pint of liquid for every pound lost gives you a general idea of how much to drink during activity, which is the amount of water your body will require during training.
Tip #3 Post-Workout Hydration: Rehydration should be based on your sweat rate; you weigh yourself before and after an hour of intense exercise, and drink 16-24 ounces of fluid per pound of body weight lost. Select a good post workout meal that will help compliment your hydration goals.
Tip #4 The common question: I drink a lot of water, but i still feel dehydrated, why is that? We need a balance between electrolytes and water. With out a good balance your cells will either shrivel up and die or burst because they are too full. This balance is also crucial for nerve function and can affect performance, breathing, blood pressure, and most importantly your heart beat.
Last tip #5 Don't be so quick to jump to a sports drink! One major component of hydration should come from your diet. Fruits and Vegetables contain lots electrolytes. If you have shorter workouts 10-20 minutes, then i would stick to water and focus on cleaning up your diet. If you are a high performance athlete that excretes high amounts of sweat over longer periods in a workout then finding the right sports drink that's low in sugar and high in electrolytes like Sodium, Potassium, magmesium and Calcium, just to name a few, is crucial!
Scott Ryan, CSCS, CF-L1Director- Fit Societe