“Drink up!”, “keep the fluids up!” and “stay hydrated!” are all orders we’ve no doubt heard in the space of exercise and training. But has the overuse of clichéd slogans fallen upon deaf ears and lost its effect on us truly understanding the importance of drinking enough water each day?
As humans, we have a very sophisticated network of metabolic pathways that require water to function. The movement of this water between areas of the body is due to the presence of electrolytes, such as sodium, chlorine, potassium, and calcium that help maintain and retain a fluid balance. Adequate hydration maintains blood volume which is important for the delivery of blood to the active muscles during training and also regulates body temperature, meaning it allows our body to get rid of heat produced by our energy systems.
So how much water do we really need?
On average, aiming for 2-3L per day, or 35-45mL per kilogram body weight. These values are based on an average person; so exercising at high intensity for 45 minutes a day will require you to increase this, especially if you’re a heavy sweater. If this sounds like a lot, try some of these tips below:
- Have a glass first thing in the morning when you stumble into the kitchen.
- Take a full bottle to your morning or evening F45 class (and drink it). Fill it up again after the class and sip on it until you get home or to work.
- Keep a water bottle close with you at work, and aim to drink a bottle between arriving and lunch, and then another between lunch and leaving.
The overall aim of your fluid intake is to avoid dehydration. Dehydration not only impairs the physical performance but also mental performance through the increase of the perceived intensity of the activity you’re doing.
Lets talk numbers
How much fluid do we need to lose, before we start to see an impact? Losing just 2% of body weight through sweat can impact performance, sometimes by up to 10%! For example, a 70kg person losing 1.4kg.
It’s important to remember to maintain hydration throughout the day in order to maintain energy levels for evening workouts, so you’re not left battling the 3 pm fade-out… and begin to talk yourself out of heading to the studio for your training session.
So how do we navigate this?
Guidelines for replacing fluids lost through sweat are at 150%, so if you lose 1kg then you should aim to drink 1.5L over 4-6 hours to replace it. After a relatively low-intensity training session, usually, water will be the best option for fluid replacement, as opting for a sports drink where it may not be indicated can provide unnecessary energy if you’re trying to maintain an energy deficit. In hot and humid climates, or for more endurance-based events (ie 90 minutes or more), it may be useful for a sports drink to replace lost electrolytes and fluids and deliver important carbohydrates for fuel.
A useful indication for your hydration status can be checking the colour of the urine so aim to have a pale yellow or straw colour. Although, the effect of some multi-vitamins or supplements may cause a bright yellow colour.
For maintenance of physical and mental performance in both a personal and physical setting, adequate hydration should never be overlooked. Getting the habit right means you can train, recover and perform like the champion you are.
F45 Challenge Team