Hydration, Why is it so important?
Fluid balance is very important for all athletes. Most often athletes do not realize how much fluid they lose during exercise until they perform the sweat test. On average sweat rates range from 1 to 4 pounds per hour. However, this depends on gender, exercise intensity, clothing, body size, sport, ambient temperature, how well you are trained, and lastly whether or not you are heat acclimatized.
As an athlete the best way to tell if you are adequately hydrated and properly replacing any lost fluid is to frequently check your urine color and quantity. Although please note your vitamins can change your urine color. See chart below:
As an athlete or a frequent exerciser it is essential that you begin your workout with your body in water balance to support maximal performance. If you begin your training session in negative water balance you will likely experience an early onset of fatigue, lack of concentration, and experience a lack of motivation or inability to perform at your best.
Keep in mind the following:
- After a hard workout, it may take 8 to 12 hours to rehydrate.
- The pre-hydration goal is to drink approximately 5 to 7 ml per kg of body weight at least 4 hours prior to exercise. For 145 pound athlete (65.9 kg), this equates to 330ml to 460 ml, roughly 11-15 ounces.
- It is important to hydrate several hours before exercise and not right before as this doesn’t allow enough time to eliminate the excess fluid before starting the workout.
- Too much fluid results in excessive urination during a race or workout.
- Over-hydration can also contribute to low blood sodium and if you continue to aggressively hydrate during exercise, you may be increasing your risk of developing hyponatremia (low blood sodium which can be problematic or fatal in some instances).
- Pre-workout coffee/caffeine not only boosts performance, but can also act as pre-exercise hydration. Rest assured, caffeine, in moderate doses~ 12 ounces of coffee or 200 mg caffeine is unlikely to increase your daily urine output or cause dehydration. So go ahead and enjoy that cup of Joe if desired! It is important to note that not everyone achieves a performance benefit from caffeine, but some do. There is a saliva test now available that can help you determine if you will benefit from pre-workout/race caffeine.
Before starting a workout or race be sure that you are well hydrated to ensure you are optimizing your performance. Remember, fluid is a basic building block of life, do not neglect it, your body needs it, and you cannot function without it. We will follow up shortly on hydration during and after training sessions to guarantee you are achieving your top results.