Woohoo! It’s just about time for hoodies, camp fires and fall sports! Whether you are a recreational athlete or serious competitor, good nutrition and proper hydration can provide you with that competitive edge over your opponents. While some athletes may require more specific guidance with nutrition choices to help enhance their performance, a general appreciation for fueling and recovering is what most of our athletes need.
One big downfall many athletes have is a lack of knowledge on proper hydration. Hydration, just like good nutrition, is important 24 hours a day, not just on game days! In fact, water makes up 75% of our muscle tissue. If muscles are not adequately hydrated, then their performance begins to suffer, meaning your agility, sprint time, power, strength and even decision-making skills could all decline. Dehydration can occur with inadequate fluid intake and excessive fluid loss through sweat, breath and urine. If you’re curious about the science between hydration and muscle performance, here is my rough breakdown.
- With prolonged sweating, your body’s heart rate increases and blood volume decreases.
- This causes an increase in your core temperature.
- Which then decreases cardiovascular function, meaning less O2 is being delivered to your working muscles.
- This also results in a slowing of the removal of waste products from the blood stream.
- A build-up of metabolic waste and dehydrated muscles cells = fatigue and cramping!
Hydrating the Athlete
- Drink 8-20 oz of water an hour before workout /game.
- Consume 4-8 oz of water every 15 minutes during workout /game.
- Rehydrate with 16-24 oz of water for every pound of sweat lost after workout/game.
- If you’re exercising for less than an hour, then water is a suitable hydration choice. However, if you’re working out longer than an hour or know you are a salty sweater, you may want to consider an electrolyte-based beverage.
- Your urine color can serve as a good indicator of hydration. It should always be a clear/light yellow color. Darker urine may indicate your body is not being properly hydrated.