Optimising your hydration for performance results

Most athletes know the in’s and out’s of nutrition when it comes to exercise and recovery. Many count their macros, eat clean protein and carbohydrates before and after each workout – some of them may even fast to increase fat oxidation to optimize body composition. There is, however, one aspect of fitness that most athletes forget about – hydration. Think back to high school biology class. Remember learning about cell hydration – the body is about 60-70% water, and the muscles are about 75% water. Without proper hydration, the body does not run efficiently and effectively. Let me give you an example of how important hydration is for your total performance in exercise. Hydration and Performance Strength performance Perhaps the most important aspect we are all interested in – strength performance. Could being dehydrated really have an effect on overall performance. When compared to hydrated individual, dehydrated athletes consistently scored lower on 4-6RM Squat tests. The results indicate that the lower amount of cell hydration not only distracted the user but also lead to slower intra-set recovery. In most cases, users scored the same in the first set but would drastically lower in strength due to slower glycogen loading, and faster accumulation of lactic acid. If your goal is to keep your reps consistent throughout your workout then you need to stay hydrated. Endurance Run much? Hydration is perhaps one of the most important factors to consider when it comes to running long distances. Humans are very efficient runners because of our ability to thermoregulate through sweat and intense breathing. Without adequately hydrated muscles and organs, our body overheats very quickly which can lead to an accumulation of lactic acid and cognitive stress. If you’ve ever gone on a long run without being hydrated first you’ll remember the constant thought of water. Do yourself a favour, stay hydrated. CrossFit Style Training When it comes to CrossFit OR HIIT style training we all know Creatine is king. Creatine helps to resynthesize phosphocreatine and replenish ATP stores. Unfortunately, this can only be completed with hydrated muscles – without hydrated muscles you cannot adequately replenish ATP stores. A recent study found that dehydrated individuals saw a 10% decrease in performance during HIIT style exercise test. This may not sound like a big deal, but 10% consistently over months of training could add to injury and loss of potential gains. How important is Hydration The above summaries show that in any discipline of exercise a hydrated body will always perform better. Many strength experts will agree that order to stay hydrated you should try to drink 3-4 litres of water each day. Keep in mind that foods such as fruit/vegetables are almost entirely water, so if your diet is high in these foods you may not need to drink as much water. A good way to tell if you’re hydrated is by observing your urine. A clear urine is a hydrated body. If your urine is golden yellow, you may want to drink more water. If you are really interested in optimising your hydration you should weigh yourself before each workout and after each workout. Each ½ kg you lose after a workout should be compensated with about 600ml of water. For example: If you weigh in 1 kilogram lighter after an intense workout you should drink about 1.2 litres of water to compensate for water losses and maintain cell hydration. RESOURCES https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17909410 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17887814

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