“As an athlete, you’ve got to watch your hydration and your nutrition, and use the right kinds of fuel to help you perform your best” - Derrick Brooks
Poor hydration and dehydration can have a significant impact on your performance, It reduces cognitive function, decision making, and can lead to early onset of fatigue.
Hydration is impacted by a wide variety of factors:
Environmental conditions (altitude, humidity, temperature)
The individual themselves
How does it affect me?
Ask yourself this, would you go into competition/training already dehydrated? NO, you wouldn’t!
When you exercise your body’s glycogen levels deplete, the loss and salts and minerals occur through sweat so you become dehydrated.
The easiest way to maintain hydration is take on water regularly through-out day, keeping a water bottle handy wherever you go.
Normal consumption is approx. 2l per day but varies.
When you exercise you’ll naturally increase your water intake, for performance athletes this is where we start to look at intra-workout supplements. Many intra workout supplements also contain electrolytes, which the body needs to maintain adequate levels of hydration.
For those who sweat a lot during their workouts or train for hours on end, supplements like BCAAs as long as they also contain electrolytes, can be very beneficial. They'll help to replace electrolytes lost during exercise without you have to consume a bunch of sugar (which is included in many of the popular sports drinks on the market today).
BCAAs and amino acid supplements can help with water consumption, too. They add flavour to an otherwise boring beverage and make it more palatable to folks who have a hard time drinking enough water by itself.
What things do I need to think about?
Firstly, Always have a bottle with you first and foremost.
For pre competition/training, and during competition, take on fluid when the opportunity presents itself is the short answer.
The problem I see time and time again,
“oh I forgot my bottle” , “i ran out the door and forgot it”
It takes less than second to fill a bottle up and put it in your bag. ZERO EXCUSES!
Secondly, remember Pre-Hydration
Hitting the field in the midday heat and you know you won’t be able to drink until halftime? Have a long swim ahead of you in warm water? Or, know you’ll be out in the sun all day playing basketball? Don’t rely solely on immediate pre-workout and post-workout fluids.
Drink up well before your workout session. Beginning an exercise session in a state of balanced hydration is your first line of defence against heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and exertional heatstroke.
With the heat and humidity, many of us get behind on our fluids during our day-to-day activities. If we come to our practice, game, or workout even slightly dehydrated, staying on top of our hydration during exercise is even more challenging.
Make fluids a priority 2-4 hours before you start your workout. Still, don’t overdo the fluids. Drink to thirst. What’s a good rule of thumb to check if you’re hydrated? Your urine should be pale yellow. It sounds grim, but true!
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