For anyone taking part in any kind of exercise, you’ll no doubt have been informed about the importance of staying hydrated. Hydration during exercise is a vital part of staying in shape, and it often goes a long way to making sure you can get the most out of your exercise regime.
With the help of the right kind of hydration during exercise, you can get through much more during that workout you planned. Planning your hydration is important, and you can do so long before starting your workouts or exercise. Carrying a bottle of water with you like custom Nalgenes is a good way to start, and below you will see how much you should be drinking based on your planned exercise.
Why, though, does hydration matter so much? Why does it play such a critical role in the kind of physical improvements that you can make as time goes on?
Getting The Right Volume
Of course, grabbing a 2l bottle of water and chugging it all down will do nothing for you – it’s going to make you feel bloated and sick. Instead, we recommend that you should try to keep to the following plans for hydration before, during and after the workout:
- Before you start, get your body ready for the exercise by drinking around 20oz of water in the 2-3 hours prior to starting your workout.
- Half an hour before you start your workout warm-up, take around 8oz of water in to help you get re-hydrated before starting.
- For every 10-20 minutes of exercise that you do try and drink around 7-10oz of water during that time.
- Half an hour after you finish, you should have consumed another 8oz or so of water.
Apparently, you should be drinking as much as 20oz of water for every pound of body weight that you shift, tools such as the hydration calculator from Gymequipmentgb can provide an accurate recommendation of what you should be drinking. However, you should also look to measure how much fluid you are losing during your workout – this can help you to get a better idea if you need to drink more or less. We are all different, so there is no fast and loose set of rules that you can follow along with.
Why do I Need to Drink so Much?
The effort that goes into a good, hard workout is very easy to see why it might take its impact on the bod. You see, when you are working out, you are working a lot of the fluids out of your system. This means that you can eventually bring on a state of dehydration. When you become dehydrated, your performance will fall through the floor.
It will also cause problems like:
- Hard, uncomfortable heartbeats that can ruin your concentration. Concentration during a workout is important as it allows you to work on things such as your form, if you are lifting weights or stick timing/ effort levels if you are doing cardio related exercises.
- Dryness of the skin and the mouth, despite profuse sweating. This can lead to lower performance when exercising, being comfortable while training has been proven to increase performance, as you are more likely to perform at your peak.
- Cramps and pain in your muscles and joints. Of course, it goes without saying that muscle pain will lead to lesser performance, mentally you will not feel like putting in extra effort and physically it will hurt more than normal to do so.
- A nauseous feeling in the stomach. Your core provides plays a huge part in most workouts so any kind of stomach related pain will have a large impact on your workouts or exercises. Running engages your core in a huge way, so you can pretty much forget about performing at your peak if you have a feeling of weakness in your stomach.
- A lightheaded feeling and a sense of dizziness – as with above, any kind of unrest will lead to lower performance, dizziness will often lead to a feeling of wanting to sit or lay down, which obviously has a detrimental impact on your exercises.
Naturally, this will hurt your concentration and make it hard for you to stay fully in control of the workout success. If you would like to avoid feeling like the above, then you should take more water in during a workout. We recommend that you try and drink as much fluid as you can, following the above amounts as a rough guide and then tailored to fit your own fitness needs.
However, you can drink too much water – if you take in too much, you are liable to dull performance and make yourself more likely to bring all of that excess water back up on yourself. If you are wanting to drink more water during a workout we recommend speaking to a doctor and a professional fitness trainer.
They can give you a better plan about the kind of water intake you need during a workout. If you feel any of the symptoms of the above kicking in without any recession after stopping working out, consider contacting a medical professional to get evaluated.
What Can I Drink?
With such a huge amount of fitness/ exercise related drinks on the market it can be difficult to decide what is best for your needs. Generally, plain old water is the best option, it won’t upset your stomach (unless you drink too much) and won’t have an impact on your calorie intake. Isotonic drinks have their place for quick hydration, but they do come with downsides such as the increase in calories over water and the fact that some drinks to not agree with certain people, not what you want when you are trying to exercise.
If you find it hard to drink large amounts of water, then look out for syrups/ additives that you can add to water. Generally these are very low in calories and allow you to personally decide the strength that suits your needs or tastes – but always remember to read the label, as some aren’t so “light”.