The human body relies on adequate amounts of water for all physiological and biochemical processes. As athletes, maintaining hydration during physical activity is often devalued or overlooked in its direct impact on optimizing performance and protecting ones health and well-being.
So, how much water should we be consuming? Unfortunately, there is no one fluid-intake recommendations that will suffice for everyone because there are many variables that determine the total volume of fluids expended daily. Some of these factors are environmental conditions, the size (and surface area) of the individual, the individual’s metabolic rate, physical activity and sweat loss, the composition of the diet and the volume of excreted fluids.
Below are some recommendations for fluid intake during stages of activity.
Before activity: drink plenty with meals, about 16oz 2 hours before activity. Your urine should have a light color but not clear. Right before activity drink 8-16 oz.
Ways to gauge fluid needs, record body weight before and after exercise. If body weight decreased, fluid intake should be increased in future exercise sessions to minimize dehydration.
During activity: you want to make sure there isn’t a loss of body weight but you don’t want to overdrink. Use the factors above to individualize your hydration schedule.
After activity: drink 24 oz per pound of body weight lost during exercise. Take sodium chloride to help speed hydration.
As with most nutritional tips take the information and correlate it to how it applies to your training schedule, and adopt the right strategies to avoid dehydration Once you get dehydrated its next to impossible to catch up to what your body needs so take the time to understand your needs and watch your performance reep the benefits.