HYDRATION is our valuable topic for this post. I know a lot of you at the box have heard Aryan and I talking about the importance of this topic and I'm hoping the majority (hopefully all) of you guys are applying this delicate information to your everyday lives. As the summer's hottest months approach, the temperature and humidity are skyrocketing and as we slowly melt away within our workouts, we begin to lose much more of our fluids then I bet we're taking in. One of the biggest cause for concerns that we see is just overall hydration in general. Just like sleep and caloric intake, we don't believe you guys are REALLY getting enough. We will break this up into 3 hydration components, pre, during, and post. 1. PRE - this is before you guys come in the gym. Lots of you have desk jobs and some of you have more active jobs. If you are sitting at a desk all day long, you should look to be hydrating consistently throughout your time there at the office. A good gauge is to be working towards 1/2 your bodyweight in fluid ounces (read more below). Those with more active jobs where you are up and walking around, outside, sweating, for every hour you are being "active", I'd add in 16 ounces. A little bit more is better here. 2. DURING - this is during the workout. Take note at what kind of "sweater" you are. If your drenched during our arm swings in the warm-up, then start hydrating early and throughout the hour session. I'd recommend a MINIMUM of 3-5 water bottles during your time at that class. Break it up throughout the hour and don't just take it in when you need it. Remember, if we are "thirsty" most likely we are already experiencing de-hydration. Really stay on top of yourself to drink water throughout the class period, even if you have to force yourself to do so. Drinking 1 bottle of water throughout the class just isn't cutting it. If you guys are using NUUN tabs, a good gauge is about 1-2 throughout your time at the gym. Just drop it in your water, let it dissolve, then drink. 3. POST - this is after your session, once in the car and at home. This is an optimal window for us to not only get nutrients in post-exercise (protein and carbs), but to begin our recovery process. Plain and simple, we need to replenish what we lost during our exercise. This will be a good time to add some salt to our food or even our water so that what we are drinking isn't just going straight through us. This goes for throughout the day as well, if you are pissing every 30 minutes, toss some sea salt or a NUUN tab in your next water so its not just running through you. Most importantly, we want to retain our fluids, there are some good examples below for further guidance. Overall de-hydration can be a huge detriment to our performance and simply our overall health. Let's take a look at how important water and proper hydration can be:
-We can live 4x longer without food than without water.
-Our bodies are 70% water
-Every cell, tissue and organ within our bodies needs water to function properly.
-Water aids in our bodies temperature regulation, joint lubrication, digestion, nutrient absorption, waste disposal, heat dispersion, almost every damn thing our body does, water assists.
-Dehydration is even sometimes and MOST LIKELY the culprit for everyday physical nuisances such as:
-Extreme thirst and/or hunger
These are just a few examples of how water works within our bodies. This list could literally go on forever. Don't wait until you're experiencing some of these symptoms before you begin to hydrate. Start early and continue to fill er' up. If you're wondering how much water to consume throughout the day, take your body weight (BW) divide it by 2 and take in that many fluid ounces of water DAILY.
For example, a 200lb man would need to consume 100 fluid ounces of water a day. Now, this only pertains to non-training days, continue reading for training day RE-hydration.
If H20 intake and proper hydration is this critical when it comes to everyday life, imagine how vital it must be to us fellow athletes and crossfitters? We tend to be much more active than the typical human being. We damn near base our lives around activity. If we're not properly hydrated, the symptoms I listed above are the least of our worries. Dehydration not only magnifies the problems I've listed above, but de-hydration also affects our overall physical and mental performance. A 2-3% dehydration rate can affect our performance by 10%. Let me say that one more time. 2-3% dehydration rate can affect our performance by 10%. Wonder why you are sucking it up today? Yep, you know the answer. "But coach, I've drank a ton of water today!" A cup at breakfast and two water bottles downed before 5pm isn't sufficient...unless you are an 80lb, sedentary 12 year old. Remember, a good gauge is half your bodyweight in fluid ounces for a MINIMUM amount of water consumption for the day. I'd even go as far as to say this is MINIMUM for someone who sits inside at a desk, all day long with 0 activity.
So moving on, hopefully we've been hydrating throughout the day AND if we plan to exercise later on, preparing our bodies for whatever physical activity lies ahead. But, when we're talking about training, we don't just lose water when we sweat. We lose a lot more than that, with one of the most important elements being electrolytes. This is what leads to muscle cramps, fatigue and sometimes full body shut down. Sometimes when the heat approaches rapidly, our bodies really aren't acclimated to the conditions and it can sometimes be overwhelming in the beginning. Our sweat rate can get out of control and that means we lose more fluids and more fluids faster.
Here's an easy way to find out how much you're actually losing during your workouts. Hop on a scale NAKED before your workout, then simply hop on a scale NAKED after your workout. Take the total lb's lost and for every lb lost, drink 16 oz of water. So, 4 lbs lost = 64 oz of water. This is consumed ON TOP of our daily intake.
We can initially best prep our body to avoid these downfalls by hydrating properly (1/2 body weight in fluid ounces daily) and by also replenishing our electrolytes post exercise or sometimes, depending on the duration of our activity, during exercise and between exercise, which I would reccomend.
Most potent electrolyte loss begins when you're 90 minutes into activity (anywhere between 500-2000mg). Now, this can all change with the intensity of the activity and how much you are actually sweating. So, you're sweat rate will determine how much you're actually losing. If you look like you just took a shower in your clothes post-warm-up, then you better believe you're losing a lot and you better be replenishing.
Here are a few simple solutions:
- Salt sticks (here at amazon.com, to be honest, these may be best bang for your buck, just purchased some of these, have been taking 1 capsule every 30-60 minutes and has been working well) - during/post
- Electrolyte tablets (NUUN tabs - this is going to be your best deal, don't buy them in the store as they are incredibly pricy) - throughout day/during/post
- Coconut water/juice (try and find an asian market, be sure to read ingredient list for 100% young coconut juice!) - during/post - Ice water with a squeeze of lemon and a pinch of sea salt - throughout the day
- Pickle juice (Picklepower.com, this stuff isn't for the faint of heart but LEGIT stuff) - post
With the NUUNs tabs, you can break those up and drop them in your water. They'll dissolve and replenish. These are really good throughout the day and during your workout. Salt sticks you can just throw back with some H2O, again, good here during the workout. Try the coconut water post-exercise. I've even tried a scoop of protein with coconut water and it tastes really good. It also serves as a decent protein/carbohydrate recovery beverage with a close 1:1 ratio of protein to carbs.
If you haven't heard, pickle juice is an excellent combative against muscle cramping. Possibly the best. With one of it's main ingredients being vinegar, pickle juice seems to do the trick better than any other water or sports drink in replenishing electrolytes and mineral replacement in the muscles. It's a fermented drink that has digestive and vitamin-enhancing benefits without the sweeteners, additives and processing like it's sugary counterparts (Gatorade/Powerade). The pickle juice sounds interesting. I have yet to try it but have only heard good things. Apparently they distribute to HEB! To be honest, I've tried the pickle juice and it certainly isn't pleasant. This should maybe be an "all else fails" option or maybe for extreme de-hydration, but if you prep early throughout the day, during your workout and afterwards, this option won't be necessary. FYI I'm pretty sure I've seen a pickle juice snow cone at Bahama Bucks as well!(http://www.picklepower.com/)
So, soak it all up and start drinking early. Replenish you're fluids on training days and if you're prone to cramping and excessive sweating, drink a gallon of pickle juice.