Water makes up 60% of the average person’s bodyweight, which means proper hydration is crucial in your day to day life. Proper hydration becomes even more important when you’re physically active. Here are some quick tips on how to remain properly hydrated before, during, and after an event or workout session. Keep in mind while reading through this article that hydration levels and fluid intake will vary among people based off many factors such as sweat rate, availability of fluids, time, temperature, and time.
BEFORE: Being well hydrated before a workout or event is just as important as being well hydrated during and after. You might even consider it the most important. Being properly hydrated prior to an event or workout makes sure you can perform at your highest potential. Adequate water intake is essential for our health and physical performance. Insufficient water intake can lead to a myriad of negative outcomes ranging from headaches and reduced athletic performance to heat injury such as heat stroke. It is recommended that before you workout that you ingest 0.08-0.12oz of water per pound of bodyweight 4 hours prior, or 0.05-0.08oz per pound of body weight 2 hours before. To put it simply, you should try an get 1.5-2 glasses of water before a workout.
DURING: Your main goal for hydration during a workout should be to match your sweat loss with your fluid intake. As you become more dehydrated, your performance will suffer, and your body temperature will rise, increasing your risk for heat illnesses or injury. Drink plenty of water during a session or event. DO NOT WAIT TILL YOU FEEL THIRSTY BEFORE TAKING IN MORE FLUIDS.
Plain water is good for one hour workouts or less, but if you know that you will be working out for longer, or that you will make you sweat more then usual due to a greater intensity or volume of exercise, then it is recommended that you add 6-8% carbohydrates (sugars) to your water bottle or fluid that you’re using. It should also have 1-2% sodium to replenish the sodium that you’re losing in your sweat. Put simply, you should be ingesting some type of fluid that will properly replenish the electrolytes that you are losing during those intense workouts or events.
POST-WORKOUT: Keep ingesting fluids after your workout to replenish any loss of electrolytes and water levels during the workout. It is recommended that you ingest 20-24oz of fluid per pound of bodyweight lost after the workout. This includes any water that may come from your meals post exercise. You might also want a sport beverage of some sort to help you replenish and recover your sodium and electrolyte levels adequately.
BE SMART, AND STAY HYDRATED. It will help you recover, will help you avoid injuries, and will assure that you’re taking proper care of your body.
About the Author: Patrick Piche is a Kinesiology intern at NRG Athletes Therapy Fitness. He enjoys long walks on the beach and philosophy debate.
Reference: Trainer Tips: Hydration by NSCA Trainer Tips