As the hot weather months approach, we encourage you to move hydration to the top of your athletic priority list. Although hydration is an important factor to your overall health year-round, slight dehydration of even 2% of your body weight can have negative effects, and your chances of this happening in the upcoming summer months are much higher. Staying properly hydrating is the best way to improve your training and race day performance.
When can athletes run into dehydration troubles?
- More than 1 training session per day
- Competitions held in hot and/or humid environments (if the athlete is coming from a colder climate, the impact is even larger!)
- Competitions of long duration such as marathons and triathlons
What are the signs and symptoms of dehydration?
- Dizziness, confusion, lightheaded
- Dry lips, mouth and skin
- Physical and metal fatigue
- Decrease pace and performance
- Darkened urine (one of first indicators because the kidneys are very sensitive and they will let you know!)
- Increased body temperature
What is hyponatremia?
Another major factor that can impair performance is hyponatremia. This metabolic condition in which there is not enough sodium (salt) in the body fluids can be caused by over-hydrating and/or hydrating with only water, which can flush electrolytes from your body. Electrolyte drinks like Nuun are perfect for pre-event or during the day hydration as they contain sodium but without the unnecessary carbohydrates many sports drinks have.
Some signs of hyponatremia include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Loss of energy
- Restlessness and irritability
- Muscle weakness, spasms or cramps
How to become a better drinker
Drink fluids throughout the day and before/during/post workouts.
Maintaining good hydration on a daily basis by staying a step ahead of dehydration is the best approach. Waiting until you are thirsty to drink fluids is too late – you are already dehydrated.
Each day try to consume half your body weight (in pounds) in liquid ounces PLUS what you sweat out in training. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, you should aim to consume 75 ounces of water and electrolyte replacement drink per day in addition to losses that occur during workouts.
Choosing the best drink
The majority of your fluid requirements throughout the day should come from water or electrolyte drinks. But for those training for extended periods of time (1 hour +), water may not be the best re-hydration approach.
Electrolytes are lost in sweat, most importantly sodium and potassium, and these will not be replaced by drinking plain water. Choosing a drink with electrolytes, such as Nuun, will replenish your body with these vital electrolytes, and you’ll have more rapid re-hydration because of it.
What is your go-to drink to stay hydrated? Share with us by leaving a comment below!
Nuun is a great tasting on-the-go hydration tablet with the electrolytes you need to hydrate and re-fuel, but none of the sugar and junk found in sugary sports drinks. Nuun is available in over 5,000 stores in the U.S. and in over 30 countries. Visit nuun.com to learn more.
About The Core Diet
Jesse Kropelnicki is an elite triathlon coach and founder of TheCoreDiet.com, a leading provider of sports nutrition. He coaches professional triathletes Caitlin Snow, Ethan Brown, and Pedro Gomes with quantitative training and nutrition protocols. Track Jesse’s coaching strategies tips on his blog at kropelnicki.com.
Jaime Windrow is a Registered Dietitian and the Nutrition Programs Director at TheCoreDiet.com. Jaime’s interest in sports nutrition began when she danced professionally for 12 years with the Radio City Rockettes, and continued when she began to race in triathlons as an elite amateur. Jamie holds a number of age-group wins and podium finishes, as well as a finish in Kona at the Ironman World Championships.