Well, it’s that time of year again. Middle of summer in Missouri. It’s hot, it’s humid, and you are sweating WAY more than usual. We preach hydration throughout the entire year for its plentiful benefits to health and wellness however are you drinking enough to make up for all the extra fluid that is lost this time of year?
Under normal circumstances 8 glasses of water a day is good to meet the needs of everyday bodily function. However, we are not under normal circumstances. We train with maximum intensity, in the heat, no ac, multiple times a week. The best way to tell how hydrated you are is by the color of your urine. If you’re hydrated properly your urine will be a pale yellow color. If it’s darker than pale yellow that’s a sign that you’re probably dehydrated.
Also important, water may not always be enough. With high intensity training in the heat you want to supplement your water with some electrolytes (sodium & potassium). Electrolytes help our muscles do a better job of retaining and utilizing energy when needed. Someone who is low on electrolytes may feel sluggish, nauseated, or have a headache. Generally it’s just best to stay on top of this when the conditions are right (like in the middle of a Missouri summer) rather than waiting for these symptoms to potentially come around. Getting these electrolytes in is easy, you can add a pinch of colored salt to your water (pink salt is common), or add electrolytes by using supplements like Nuun tablets. I recommend staying away from “sports drinks” such as Gatorade & Powerade because these drinks have a rather high sugar content.
Now as Crossfitters, we love data! Generally we like it in the form of scores on various workouts to determine our fitness level. There is a lot of benefit to having other kinds of data as well, such as your sweat rate! Your sweat rate is the amount of water you lose during an intense training session. We can use the sweat rate to help us determine the optimal amount of water to drink after training, here is how to find it:
1. Weigh yourself before you workout
2. Weigh yourself after the workout
3. Calculate the difference
4. Drink 16oz. for every pound that was lost
Truth is, water can just be boring sometimes! Try one of these ideas to spice things up a bit:
-Make your own Spa Water by adding one or a combination of the following:
-Fizz it up with a Sodastream machine or any other carbonating device. Just don’t use the flavor packs that come with it. Instead go for some fresh squeezed lemon, lime, or orange.
Proper hydration is essential for nearly all bodily functions and overall health. Especially if our goal is to maximize human performance. Hopefully these tips help you implement your hydration strategy!