Get ready to gulp!

February 8th, 2011

I started a new Crossfit program a couple days ago and as I was drinking my water in between sets I looked about and was surprised to see a few people without a trusty fluid fix in hand. As a friendly reminder I thought I’d compile a few thoughts on hydration for active individuals.

Mild to moderate dehydration (i.e., 1-2 percent of body weight) can negatively impact one’s ability to perform whether it’s in the gym or on the field. Severe dehydration is a different animal and can lead to heat stroke, loss of coordination, muscles cramps, heat exhaustion and even death.

Replacing fluids lost during exercise is critical and regular, better still planned and executed, fluid intake is the only tried and true way to prevent dehydration. Before, during and after exercise – everyone needs fluid – so here are the recommended amounts:

Two hours before exercise, drink approximately 2 to 4 cups (500ml – 1000ml) of fluid

Drink approximately 1/2 to 1 cup (125ml – 250ml) every 15 to 20 minutes; depending on how much you can tolerate

Drink enough to replace the sweat lost during exercise. As a guideline, drink at least 2 to 3 cups (500ml to 750ml) of fluid for every pound (0.5kg) of body weight lost during exercise. If it’s extremely hot, or you’ve sweated more than normal – maybe from running on a hot-humid summer day or participating in a hot yoga class –  you will more than likely need more fluid. The key is to stay one step ahead and drink before you feel thirsty. Unfortunately, by the time you’re thirsty – you’re already dehydrated.

In short, dehydration is not fun and totally preventable, so get ready to gulp!