Whether you are a fitness fanatic or just starting a new workout regimen, drinking enough water before, during and after exercise is essential.
Studies have shown that many athletes are chronically dehydrated. When trainer Amanda Carlson did a study on college football players preparing for a major NFL scouting event, she discovered that 98% of them were dehydrated at the beginning of their morning evaluation (source). In another study performed over the course of ten years in South Africa, researchers found that seasoned runners participating in a 10-mile race drastically underestimated how much sweat they lost and consequently drank too little to stay well hydrated. The runners underestimated their sweat losses by an average of 46 percent and their fluid intake by an average of 15 percent, resulting in the runners replacing only 30 percent of their fluids lost through sweat (source).
We covered the signs and symptoms of dehydration in a previous blog, but these effects are even more detrimental for athletes. “Your ability to perform athletically can decline with a very small amount of dehydration,” says Carlson, director of performance nutrition for Athletes’ Performance, which trains many of the world’s top athletes. She went on to say, “Just losing 2% of your body weight in fluid can decrease performance by up to 25%.” Another study by researchers at Tufts University found that college athletes who were mildly dehydrated and engaged in high-impact aerobics for 60 to 75 minutes without adequate water intake were more likely to feel fatigued, confused, angry, depressed, or tense (source). As the school year starts up, it’s going to be more important than ever for student athletes to take in enough water, as dehydration not only affects athletic performance, but academic performance, as well. But adequate hydration does not just apply to athletes; whether you’re a weekend warrior or hitting the gym every single day, getting enough water can make all the difference in your results.
So how much water exactly do you need to drink during a workout to stay hydrated?
Start drinking water long before your workout. In just one hour of exercise, the body can lose more than a quart of fluids, depending on the workout intensity and air temperature. The American Council on Exercise recommends drinking 17-20 ounces of water every hour for about two or three hours before you even start your warm-up. Then, drink an additional eight ounces of water during your warm-up (16 ounces, if it’s especially hot or humid outside when you’re working out). When your body is well-fueled, your heart won’t have to work as hard to pump blood.
Sip During Your Workout
In general, you should drink 7 – 10 ounces of water every twenty minutes during your workout. However, it’s best to not drink this all at once. Take drinks throughout your workout to avoid cramps or the feeling of water sloshing in your stomach. Just make sure you’re taking water breaks whenever necessary to refuel.
Drink a minimum of eight ounces within 30 minutes of your workout. Alternatively, weigh yourself before and after the workout and then drink 150 percent of the water weight you lost. For example, if your weight dropped by a pound, you will need 1.5 pounds (or 24 ounces) of water to compensate. If your workout was long or intense, or if you worked out in high temperatures, add electrolytes to your water to replace lost sodium. You can also use tart terry juice or chocolate milk to speed up muscle recovery, or coconut water for additional electrolytes minus the sugar that comes in sports drinks.
No matter your workout routine, remember to make sure you have a full water bottle handy and drink whenever you feel thirsty. If you weren’t getting enough water during workouts before, you’ll be amazed at how much better you feel.
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*Any information provided on the Glasstic blog is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to prescribe, diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease, nor replace current medical treatment or drugs prescribed by your healthcare professional. The statements made have not been evaluated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It is your responsibility to educate yourself and address any health or medical needs you may have with your physician.