Hydration: Facts, Products, and Suggestions

Hydration: Facts, Products, and Suggestions

Some Stats to Start

  • 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated. It is probable that similar percentages apply to 90% of the world population.
  • For each 1% loss of water, there is a 10% loss in exercise performance.
  • Lack of water is the #1 trigger of daytime fatigue.
  • Recommended water intake a day is half your body weight in ounces. For all you 200lb guys out there; Are you taking down 100 ounces of water a day?

As evidence by these stats, hydration is vital. Not only to performance, but for everyday life. Water is the essence of life. It is the most important nutrient in our bodies making up roughly 70 percent of our muscle and brain tissue. Only oxygen is craved by the body more than water. Replacing bodily fluids lost be everyday activity, and more specificly exercise, is crucial to helping your body recover and maintain a healthy functioning system.

A little Science to help you understand Hydration and Exercise.

Staying hydrated is essential for everyone, but for athletes and fitness enthusiasts, proper hydration is even more important. Sweat loss rates (how much water you lose during exercise) during hard exercise may be as high as 2-3 Liters per hour. (Sweat rates commonly range between one to four pounds per hour, depending on your sport and environmental conditions) Replacing the sodium, chloride, magnesium, and potassium (Electrolytes) lost during exercise can be done by using water or a variety of  other products. If not done properly, you may experience dehydration which can lead to muscle cramps, headaches, and fatigue in the mildest of circumstances.
A table of what is lost in a liter of sweat
Electrolyte- Average amount/ 2 lbs (1 liter,~1 quart) sweat Food reference
Sodium- 800 mg (range 200-1,600) 32 ounces( 2 standard gatorades) = 440 mg Sodium
Potassium- 200 mg (range 120-600) 1 med banana = 450 mg Potassium
Calcium- 20 mg (range 6-40) 8 oz yogurt = 300 mg Calcium
Magnesium- 10 mg (range 2-18) 2 Tbsp peanut butter = 50 mg Mg
Measuring if you are hydrated can be done by
  1. Monitoring urine volume output and color. A large amount of light colored, diluted urine probably means you are hydrated; dark colored, concentrated urine probably means you are dehydrated. (Unless you have vitamin B in your system which is common in multivitamins.)
2. Weighing yourself before and after exercise. Any weight lost is likely from fluid, so try to drink enough to replenish those losses. Any weight gain could mean you are drinking more than you need.
Fluid Replacement Guidelines

Before Exercise

  •  Drink 17-20 oz. of water or a sports drink (If you feel like your electrolyte levels are low) 2-3 hours before exercise.
  • No need to overhydrate. Your kidneys can only process so much liquid and hydrating 2-3 hours before exercise allows time for your kidneys to process and eliminate the excess.
  • Drink an additional 7-10 oz. of water or sports drink 10-20 minutes before exercise.
  • If you take caffeine, take it 30-60 minutes before you exercise.(see my previous blog for more on this)

During Exercise

  • Begin drinking early during the sporting event . Even minimal dehydration compromises performance. (Small sips on a regular basis are the best way to go)
  • In general, drink at least 7-10 oz. of water or a sports drink every 10-20 minutes.
  • Remember to drink beyond your thirst to maintain hydration. Optimally, drink fluids based on the amount of sweat and urine loss. (Again try not to gulp 10 ounces at once.)
  • If exercising longer than 60 minutes, drink 8-10 fl oz of a sports drink  every 15 – 30 minutes. (These carbs help maintain normal blood glucose levels so you are able to enjoy sustained energy)

After Exercise

  •  Within two hours, drink enough to replace weight loss from exercise. If your workout was longer than 60 minutes, your electrolyte levels need to be replenished with something containing sodium, potassium, magnesium, and calcium.
  • Drink 20-24 fl oz water or liquid for every 1 lb lost.
  • Consume a 3:1 ration of carbohydrates to protein drink or meal within the 2 hours after exercise to replenish glycogen stores.

The Products That I Have Used

Water is always a great choice for the Average Joe or Athlete. For a more intense workout or ones lasting longer than 60 minutes, water alone may not be sufficient because of the bodies loss in sodium. However, it may be suitable if you drink water along with some food with sodium magnesium, calcium, and potassium. A good example would be having a peanut butter and banana sandwich. You are getting the sodium intake with the bread and peanut butter, potassium and natural sugar from the banana, and good combo of magnesium and calcium from everything. Not to mention, a good 3 to 1 carbohydrate to protein fix, to help restore muscle fibers.

Sports Drinks (Gatorade)

As stated earlier studies have demonstrated that complete restoration of the extracellular fluid compartment (and blood volume) cannot be attained without replacement of the lost sodium.  Furthermore, during prolonged exercise, a combination of sodium loss and the ingestion of large quantities of fluids with little or no electrolytes can lead to low plasma sodium. Gatorade’s Prime, Perform, Recover, covers all three aspects and is an excellent choice for long lasting or intense workouts. Gatorade Sports Science Institute has done a revolutionary job in tailoring products to specific needs. Because of this, stick with the more recent products. Some of the older Gatorades contain high sugar levels and High Fructose Corn Syrup may be present. For Athletes post-exercise, the “Recover” is a great combo of carbs, protein, and electrolytes.  (For more info visit http://www.gssiweb.com/)

H2O overdrive is another great product post-workout in the sports drink market. An engineered blend of electrolytes, vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and precision ratio of protein combined with a unique blended multi-carbohydrate complex. (3:1 ratio) Check out the electrolyte complex as well.  (Good amounts of the 3 essentials. Sodium, magnesium, and potassium) One added benefit of H2O overdrive is the 100 mg of caffeine. For endurance athletes especially, drinking H2O overdrive mid-competition may give you that added boost of caffeine in combination with the amino acid and nutrient complex. (For more info visit http://h2ooverdrive.com/)

Coconut Water is considered “Nature’s Sports Drink” because it gives you replenished electrolytes in their most natural form. Coconut water contains about 600-900 mg of potassium and 30-252 mg of sodium per serving, making it an excellent post exercise recovery drink. This is a great solution for you health nuts and those who want their electrolyte replenishment more natural. (For more info on its benefits visit http://phenomwater.com/top-5-benefits-of-drinking-coconut-water-for-athletes)

Alcohol is very common post-exercise in team settings as well as after finishing a match, event, or tournament. Some research has shown that the sugars, salts, and bubbles in a pint may help people absorb fluids more quickly. Beer’s carbohydrates replace calories lost during physical exertion and can help replenish. HOWEVER, alcohol does have a diuretic effect, particularly in large amounts, and with the amount of other options in the market, beer,should probably be the last option.  My suggestion. In celebratory circumstances, you can consume alcohol in moderation but with lots of extra water (plus some carbs to buffer the alcohol and refuel the muscles).

Special Thanks on this blog to those who helped with the research and information, you know who you are. For any questions please email or get in touch with me.
Next post- 3 Elite Athletes share a day’s worth of meals
A Stat to close
The average American typically gains between one and five pounds between Thanksgiving and New Years.
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