The bad news- I still managed to lose about 4 lbs in 5hrs of riding telling me I could have possibly been even better hydrated. Furthermore, the heat killed my appetite making it difficult for me to keep up with my calories towards the end of the ride and I BONKED badly on a two mile climb in the last few miles of my ride. Yuck...that was NOT fun.
Why is Hydration Important ?
Proper hydration is important for a number of reasons! Staying well hydrated throughout the day ensures that your metabolism is working at maximal capacity, boosting energy levels, flushing your body of toxins while transporting nutrients throughout your body. For athletes, proper hydration aids in effective body temperature regulation by providing a means for your body to increase its sweat rate as needed. Sweating may not be "sexy," but it enables our body to stay cool while working hard, and what's not to love about that?! Without further ado, I'm here today to share a few of my tips in effectively hydrating throughout summer training to ensure you get the most out of each workout (and stay safe....safety first!)
General Hydration Tips
Performance Hydration for Athletes
It takes as little as 1% water loss to trigger mild reductions in muscular performance and impairments in cognitive function. More severe levels of dehydration occur at 2-3% water loss and can result in serious performance deficits. Hydration levels affect both your heart's ability to effectively pump blood to working muscles (i.e. prevent fatigue), and your gut's ability to effectively absorb calories (i.e. prevent GI issues), thus it's important to start a workout or race well hydrated and drink early and often throughout. Here's a few more tips to consider:
There's a variety of ways to meet hydration needs in training, but do keep in mind that everyone's needs are unique and what works for someone else may or may not work for you. To wrap up this post, here are a few of my favorite "Real Food For Fuel" ways to stay hydrated (click on pictures to view captions):
Stay tuned: next time I plan to share a favorite homemade sports drink of mine. Until then, happy hydrating!
Kristen Chang is Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN), Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics (CSSD) and endurance athlete residing in southwest Virginia alongside her husband and dog. Through this blog she aims to share favorite fueling recipes, general wellness and sport nutrition tips and stories from her athletic endeavors.
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