Properly hydrating with a workout regimen

November 17, 2014
Proper hydration for any workout.
Proper hydration for any workout.

Whether you’re an avid weight lifter, a competitive athlete playing a team sport or you spend your fitness time on the elliptical machine, it’s pivotal that you develop a strong sense of proper hydration. While many people think that simply drinking a relatively large volume of water throughout the day is ample for your hydration needs, being more tactical about your consumption of water and electrolytes can help you reach the next plateau in your fitness training. Take a look at these hydration tips and try implementing them into your next few workouts. You’re bound to notice some positive results:

Be able to recognize dehydration
One of the most key factors in determining a proper hydration regimen for your workout style is being able to recognize dehydration immediately when it strikes. The raw truth of the matter is that we’re all going to be dehydrated at some point during most days; we simply lose too much water through natural activities and existence to be adequately hydrated all the time. Being aware of this process can better our ability to combat it, though. According to Men’s Fitness, the single greatest indicator of dehydration is beginning to feel thirst. By the time you’re aware of thirst, you’re more than likely already somewhat dehydrated. Take a pulse of your thirst at random moments throughout the day: when you wake up, going about your daily activities and when you go to bed. Whenever you begin to detect thirst or dehydration, take in a few ounces of water. Carrying a water bottle or CamelBak with you at all points will help you be ready to diffuse potential dehydration.

Before, during and after working out
It’s important to ensure you’re properly hydrated during all phases of your workout, before, during and after. Active recommends that athletes who will be competing drink roughly 16 ounces of water two hours before the start of their event. During your actual workout, it’s critical that you ensure that you maintain a proper level of hydration for your muscles and cardiovascular system to function at the optimal level. For most people, this means taking in roughly 16 ounces of water for each pound that is shed during physical activity. A good way to measure this is by weighing oneself before and after exercise and noting how much water you took in. If you lost 2 pounds during your last workout and drank 10 ounces of water, that same workout would be better served next time by you taking in nearly 42 ounces of water throughout the activity. Following a workout, establish a baseline hydration level is crucial to recovery. We recommend taking in 24 ounces for each pound of mass lost during activity. For example, if you lost half a pound while running, drink 12 ounces of water.

Other factors
One thing that people commonly misunderstand about hydration is that there is no uniform solution that’s a good fit for all individuals. Personal metabolic rates, diet, supplement use and the intensity of your average workout will determine how much water you need to take in. While speaking with a nutritionist or your personal physician may be the best way to make this call, it’s also wise to strongly consider your personal hydration needs that are within your control. For example, if you’re taking creatine or any other supplement that operates by forcing extra water into your muscle cells, you’ll need to take a serious upgrade in your water consumption in order to account for this.