6 easy tips to stay on top of your hydration to get the most out of your training and recovery.
It's the dog days of summer and the heat has been on the rise. It's extremely important to stay hydrated during all athletic activity, especially during a heat wave. Here's a few tips on how to get hydrated, stay hydrated and adapt to outdoor training.
1 . Drink plenty of fluids throughout the day . About 0.5 x your bodyweight plus 8oz for every 30 mins of exercise is a good average.. Remember you can only process about 25 ounces of water an hour (over hydration is a problem as well) so don't over do it but keep on top of your fluid intake, even if you have to set an alarm. A good number to go by is 20 ounces of water per hour max.
*pro tip- check the color of your urine, if it's clear to pale yellow you are usually hydrated (1,2)
2. Add electrolytes to your water & food. Plain water alone is not enough we need electrolytes such as sodium, potassium, magnesium and calcium for our body to carry out functions such as muscle contractions & nerve impulses. If you are cramping you are already dehydrated. There are a lot of products on the market that you can add to water such as Eboost, The Right Stuff and Osmo. If you don't have access to any of these products you can add 1/8 teaspoon of salt to your water. Eat foods that have sodium such as pickles, lox, olives, anchovies, soy sauce or add some salt to your food.
3. Avoid sugary hydration drinks, carbs and fruit when you hydrate. Carbs are great but eat them after you hydrate. Fructose and other carbohydrates slow the rate of electrolyte absorption and can cause stomach cramps. You can have about a 4% solution of carbs in water for optimal rehydration. That is 20g of carb per 16oz of water. *Coconut water does not provide us with the electrolytes needed for hydration. It is mostly potassium and our sweat is 90% sodium. If you like coconut water add a pinch of salt for proper hydration.
4. Eat foods that have a high water content. Celery, watermelon, lettuce, cucumbers, and Milk! (3) Milk is loaded with all of the electrolytes we need to replenish our bodies and keep us hydrated.
5. Heat adaptation training- if you know that you have an event or training coming up in a hot outdoor environment heat adaptation training will help your body adjust. At least 30 mins day in the heat will give your body an edge for competition day. If you can't get outside 30 mins in a sauna can help too. (4)
6. Dehydration can affect cognitive function. Traditionally a 2% or more body water deficit was thought to produce cognitive performance decrements; however, recent literature suggests that even mild dehydration – a body water loss of 1–2% – can impair cognitive performance. (5)
Keep in mind- hydration is not specific to when you train it's a 24 hour a day, all week job. Stay on top of your hydration to prevent playing catch up or repairing your cells once you are already dehydrated.