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Water & Hydration Copy

Michael Bewley September 20, 2020
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WATER & HYDRATION

Hydration is essential for everyday performance and health. In spite of this, it is often neglected and taken for granted. Countless, studies confirm that even small fluctuations in the body’s water balance can adversely affect performance.

Hydrate For Peak Performance

Whenever your body is short of water, athletic performance bombs. Why, you ask? Exercise increases body temperature in direct proportion to the exercise load. Your body tries to maintain its resting temperature of 98.6-degrees Fahrenheit by moving the extra heat to the skin via the blood. There it dissipates into the air, mainly by evaporation of sweat. But your blood must also carry oxygen and nutrients to the muscles and remove the wastes of muscle metabolism. Available blood gets shared between all these tasks. The higher your core temperature rises, the more blood gets used for cooling, and less is available for muscles. So, the cooler you stay during exercise, short of being cold, the better your muscles function.

PRE-EVENT HYDRATION GUIDELINES

Consume 18 to 24 ounces (oz) of water 2-hours before your event to “top off” with water. When hydrating before a game, avoid soft drinks, sports drinks, and fruit juices, which often contain large amounts of sugar and caffeine, which can act as a diuretic (a substance that promotes water excretion) and effect optimal performance.

Water Boosts Energy & Supports Muscle

Water is needed to transport nutrients to your cells and transport waste out of the body. Water helps form the structures of protein and glycogen. To move and flex your muscles, you need water. If your body is dehydrated, your muscles get deprived of electrolytes and cause cramps. Since nerves control muscles, without the proper water and electrolyte balance, muscle control will also be impaired. Moral: you must stay hydrated if you want to build muscle and experience peak athletic performance in the weight room and your sport.

DURING-EVENT HYDRATION GUIDELINES

The main reason for drinking water during heavy exercise is to replace fluid loss via sweat. If body temperature increases too much during physical activity (hypothermia), your body will heat up and decrease performance. Although you can’t replenish the rate of water loss during exercise, you can off-set fluid loss by drinking 6 to 9-oz of ‘cold’ water or diluted sports drink every 15 to 20-minutes during exercise.

How Much Water Is Enough?

The average person — who is relatively inactive — requires a minimum of 8-to-12 cups of water per day. However, this amount is far too low for athletes. You need much more to replace the fluid lost during exercise.

POST-EVENT HYDRATION GUIDELINES

Re-hydrating the body immediately after exercise is extremely important for several reasons. First, you are dehydrated. Second, your energy stores are depleted. Third, you are in electrolyte overload. A simple way to monitor water loss and re-hydrate effectively is to weigh yourself before and immediately following exercise. As a general re-hydration rule, you must replace the body with 16-oz of water for every 1-pound lost.

Climate Matters

Depending on your size and sweat rate, you lose about four cups of water per hour of exercise. If you are training in a mild climate, you are probably losing about 1/2 gallon of water through sweat.

If you are working out in a hot climate, you can quickly lose a gallon or more by the end of your workout and conditioning session. Athletes need even more water to assist with the metabolism of the food (and supplements) consumed.

The Performance Nutrition Calculator

The Critical Reload Performance Nutrition Calculator will tell you how much water to drink everyday based on your daily calorie burn. Click the floating CALCULATOR tab on the right and review the Hydration & Performance tab to see your daily hydration requirements that support your health, energy and performance needs.

Bibliography

  1. Blake, J. (2014). Nutrition & You, 3rd Edition. Retrieve from Amazon.com.
  2. Clark, N (2013), Nancy Clark’s Sports Nutrition Guidebook. Retrieve from Amazon.com.
  3. Gastelu, et al, (2015) Specialist In Performance Nutrition: Weight Control, Fitness, and Performance Nutrition. International Sports Science Association. Retrieve from ISSA Website.
  4. US Anti-Doping Agency: Nutrition Guide. Retrieve PDF from USADA website.
  5. US Anti-Doping Agency: Fluids & Hydration. Retrieve from USADA website.

Water Boosts Energy & Supports Muscle

Water is needed to transport nutrients to your cells and transport waste out of the body. Water helps form the structures of protein and glycogen. To move and flex your muscles, you need water. If your body is dehydrated, your muscles get deprived of electrolytes and cause cramps. Since nerves control muscles, without the proper water and electrolyte balance, muscle control will also be impaired. Moral: you must stay hydrated if you want to build muscle and experience peak athletic performance in the weight room and your sport.