Hydrating correctly for an effective workout

Hi Guys, It’s Melanie again, I hope you enjoyed last months post reading about the different macro nutrients we need for sport. This month I want to go back to the importance of hydrating correctly for an effective workout.

Water makes up 60% of our body weight and is vital to all of our cells and their individual functions.  Water enables reactions to take place in the body and that includes energy production for your workout.  

If you are dehydrated on starting your workout then this will increase your heart rate and your perception of effort whilst reducing your overall performance.  Depending on the type of workout you are doing, water will be lost further through sweat, breathing and/or urine.  It is important that your urine is a pale straw colour whether you are working out or not!

So how much water do you need? 

This will depend on many factors including your personal sweat rate, the duration of your exercise, the intensity of your workout but also external factors such as the temperature of exercise environment and how humid conditions are.  As a rule of thumb, you should be aiming to drink at least 2 litres of water per average day.  This amount will increase with exercise and the increase will depend on the variables mentioned.

Tips on hydration

  1. I recommend that you should start all exercise hydrated.  This can be difficult when you are working out first thing in the morning.  However, try to ensure you drink on rising, as your body naturally dehydrates over the night whilst you are sleeping.  A lovely drink to have on waking is warm/hot water with freshly squeezed juice of one lemon and a pinch of Himalayan pink salt.  This is especially hydrating and alkalising for your body after sleep with the addition of salt providing minerals to your muscles whilst supporting your adrenal health.  (Please note that if you have high blood pressure, avoid the addition of salt).
  2. Feeling thirsty is the first sign that you are dehydrated!  Always listen to your body and hydrate as soon as you feel thirsty.  It is worth noting that for a woman during the menopausal transition, the ability the feel thirsty is reduced so you should try to hydrate on a regular basis to ensure you are not reaching this point.
  3. If sweat rates are high with a workout then replenish regularly throughout
  4. If you are doing some high interval training of more than 60 minutes, then water or an isotonic drink may be preferable.
  5. Always rehydrate after a workout.

What is a hypotonic drink?

A hypotonic drink is less concentrated than body fluids so can be easily absorbed by the body.  Be mindful that they are high in sugars, sweeteners and preservatives though often contain beneficial electrolytes.  There is no real benefit in using a hypotonic drink when training for less than an hour.

What is an isotonic drink?

These are a popular drink that contain more carbohydrates than hypotonic drinks.  They are useful for maintaining blood glucose and sparing muscle glycogen (our stored sugar) and therefore increase endurance and performance.  Again, only use if you are exercising for over one hour.

What is a hypertonic drink?

Hypertonic drinks contain the highest levels of carbohydrates and are useful for endurance events such as triathlons, marathons and ultras.  

Can I use caffeine pre-workout?

Caffeine is not going to hydrate you, but it can be beneficial to your workout in a number of ways.

Caffeine is a neuromuscular stimulant that can reduce the perception of workout effort and therefore delays fatigue.  It does this by increasing endorphins in the brain (thereby increasing a sense of well-being) whilst improving alertness, reaction time and attention span.  A number of scientific studies have shown that it can increase muscle recruitment that then can boost performance.  

However, our ability to tolerate caffeine is very individual and can be down to genetics.  I offer a genetic testing service that looks at a variety of nutrients and our response to things such as gluten, lactose but also caffeine which you can find here under DNA Testing Packages – www.melaniefloodnutrition.com/services

I want to train fasted, should I avoid hydrating?

There are some benefits to training fasted, but you must always hydrate!  You are not breaking your fast if you drink water, herbal teas or black coffee.

I hope you have found this article helpful.  

Melanie Flood Nutrition


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