A basic component of good nutrition and general health is hydration . Considering our bodies are made up of almost 60% water, it isn’t surprising that exercise performance is impaired
when an athlete is dehydrated by as little as 2% of their body weight. Let’s consider how to hydrate, the consequences of dehydration, and monitoring.
The goal of performance hydration is to begin a race or training session in a well hydrated
state. The next challenge is to maintain a proper hydrated state throughout the session. This is to not only to maximize performance but, to increase the ability to recover and decrease
injury and cramps. The result of under-hydration goes beyond a decrease in performance.
Dehydration causes an increase in core temperature and heart rate, a decrease in blood pressure, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, headaches, and muscle cramps—need I say more?
At this point, your next questions should be “ How should you hydrate and how do you monitor your hydration status?” Hydration timing should include:
Pre-training: 16-20 oz of water 2-3 hours prior and an additional 8 oz 15-20 minutes before
During the training: drink 4-10 oz every 10-20 minutes.
Post-training: an additional 8 oz after 30 minutes.
Evaluating your hydration status can be as simple as monitoring urine color. Clear to pale yellow urine is indicative of optimal hydration status. Dark urine, the apple juice look, is a definite sign of under-hydration. Another common way to evaluate your personal hydration
demands while training is to:
1) Get a naked body weight before training.
2) Warm-up for 5-10 minutes, then bike or run for an hour at or close to race pace. Keep track of your fluid intact by ounces.
3) After one hour, remove your clothes, wipe off any sweat, and take another weight. Subtract your post-training weight from your pre-weight. The loss of a pound equals a 16 oz fluid
shortage. It’s important to note that this is not a decrease in fat. Fat loss just doesn’t happen that fast—sorry. Also, if you weighed more at the end, it’s an over-hydration issue and it needs to be adjusted in your next workout. Over-hydration can be a serious issue and will be discussed at another time.
Despite all the claims and choices of performance drinks, water is still the go to in races and workouts lasting sixty minutes. Once we go over, there are new demands on the body for electrolyte replacement—but, that’s for another time.
From PK’s, stay hydrated, fit, and perform!