If you’re an avid exerciser, then you likely know staying hydrated is essential… but just how important is adequate hydration? Hydration is crucial to your long-term fitness goals, and a proper understanding of it can help give your exercise performance that well-needed boost.
WHEN do you need to hydrate?
It’s imperative to hydrate before, during and after exercise. The simplest way to tell if you’re hydrated before your workout is by the color of your urine. A pale yellow color likely indicates adequate hydration before your workout. During your workout, sip to your desire. Guzzling too much water at one time may lead to a cramp, so sip water slowly throughout the duration of your workout.
After your workout, it is essential to rehydrate immediately! See below to determine how much water you need to adequately rehydrate your body after exercise. There are a number of products on the market that actually allow you to track the amount of water you consume throughout the day. For example, the Ozmo smart cup is one product that synchronizes seamlessly with your activity trackers like Misfit, Fitbit and Garmin so that your hydration goal meets your activity level.
WHY do you need to re-hydrate?
If you’re not adequately hydrated, your athletic performance could potentially suffer! Proper hydration helps…
- Boost your metabolism and exercise performance
- Speed up recovery
- Control your body temperature
- Maintain proper bodily functions
- Flush out unwanted fluid in the body
HOW MUCH do you need to re-hydrate with?
You’ve lost a lot of fluids through sweat during your workout and they need to be replaced in order for your body to continue to work properly.
How much water do you need to drink to re-hydrate appropriately?
The golden rule is to aim to re-hydrate 25 to 50% more than the fluid you lost while exercising.
How do you figure this out?
Weigh yourself before and after your workout. The difference between these two weights is the amount of fluid you lost while exercising.
Convert this number to kilograms (if it is not already). Divide your weight loss in pounds by 2.2.
Multiply the weight you lost in kilograms by 1.25 or 1.5.
This final number is the number of liters of fluid you need to adequately re-hydrate.
For example, if you weigh 150 pounds before your workout and 148 pounds after your workout, there is a weight difference of 2 pounds. To get the weight difference in kilograms, divide 2 pounds by 2.2. The result is 0.9 kilograms. Multiply this number by 1.5 and the result is that 1.4 liters are needed to adequate rehydrate your body after your workout.
While this method may seem cumbersome, it is the best method to use to figure out how much fluid you need to adequately rehydrate after your workout. It is best to work with a registered dietitian nutritionist to help you identify your individual needs.
Remember, the average exerciser does not require a special recovery drink with electrolytes after a workout. These beverages often contain added sugar and calories that your body does not require. If you are training for an event or an elite athlete, consult with a registered dietitian nutritionist for individualized recommendations to best meet your needs!
Original source: Chelsey Amer, MS, RDN