Have you ever heard that your body is made up of 80% water? Well, it’s true! I’d like to tell you why water’s so important, and why you need to stay on top of it during your workout. Now that summer is almost here, it’s time to make sure you’re drinking enough fluids with the heat in full force. Staying hydrated means your body will perform better and you’ll recover faster. I’ll talk about why it’s necessary, what to drink, and how much to drink before, during, and after a workout.
Making sure your hydrated before a workout seems simple, but there are some dangerous implications if you’re not. Keep in mind, you won’t feel thirsty until you’ve already lost 1-2% of your body weight, so it’s important to make sure you’re drinking frequently. Not being hydrated can lead to impaired physical and cognitive performance, compromised circulation, and inefficient thermoregulation. Athletes who are acclimated to the heat tend to dissipate heat better and sweat more. Due to this, they need to drink more since they are losing more fluid.
Replenishing fluids is important, but it’s even more important to start out hydrated and continue to hydrate throughout a workout. To do this, 1.5ml of water for every calorie burned during a workout is needed. On a larger scale, 1 pint of water is needed for every 1lb of body weight lost as sweat at a minimum.
The type of beverage you decide to hydrate with is another important choice. Stay away from diuretics like coffee, alcohol, or soda the day before or leading up to a workout. Drinks like this can dehydrate you quickly due to their diuretic effects. Water is always a great choice when it comes to rehydrating, but what about Carbohydrate and Sodium-enhanced drinks like Gatorade? They have shown to allow greater fluid retention, which is great when you’re working outside for an extended period of time in the heat. This is a good defense mechanism against dehydration in the heat; just be sure not to drink too much. It can cause cramping or sugar overload, and can also add a lot of calories to your diet. This is why water is usually seen as a better choice for rehydration, as there is no limit as to how much you can have.
So what are those parameters? How much should you be drinking before, during, and after a workout? Well it’s important to start the night before; make sure you drink plenty of water the night before so you’re off to a good start in the morning. Immediately before a workout, drink 400-600ml of fluid which is about 1.5 cups of water. During a workout, drinking 150-250ml of fluid every 15 minutes will keep you hydrated.
Not only should you pre-hydrate, but hydrating during recovery is important as well. Water intake after a workout stimulates the body’s ability to relax. Once you start to relax your body goes into recovery mode. The sooner you start to drink that water post-workout, the sooner your body will be able to recover from it. How you perform during your workout will always depend on how much you hydrated before and after your workout from yesterday. Just remember to always stay on top of your water intake and your performance won’t suffer!
To sum all this up, just make sure that you’re paying attention to how much you’re drinking, when you’re drinking it, and what you’re drinking. CHO-enhanced fluids are beneficial for the short-term hydration phase, as they help you hold onto fluid so you don’t lose too much. Water is of the utmost importance and will promote recovery post-workout, enhance performance pre-workout, and keep you feeling good during your workout. Don’t underestimate the power of water!