We all know that we need to drink water every day. When it is hot and/or when we do sports the need is bigger. But how much and what should you drink? Here are some guidelines:
- Limit dehydration during training and competition by drinking the quantity that matches your sweat-ratio. Make your own drinking test and get to know your sweat loss in different situations.
- Limit your weight loss to max 2% of your body weight to avoid dehydration.
- There are no performance enhancements in drinking more than your weight loss, so avoid over hydration. Your body can maximum only absorb 1000-1200 ml fluid per hour, so this should be the most fluid your consume – even if your weight loss due to sweat is bigger.
Water vs Energy drinks
When should you drink more than just plain water?
- During training in more than 60 min that results in fatigueness, you should eat/drink 30-60 grams of carbohydrates per hour. This will result in a higher level of blood sugar, which helps you keep speed/intensity/concentration during a competition. The carbohydrates may come from glucose and fructose, but fructose shouldn’t be the dominant sugar – it may cause stomach problems.
- If the training/competition is longer than 1-2 hours – or if you have a big loss of salts – then you need to add salt in your drink.
To recover water and salts after training is an important part of restitution. You should drink 1.2-1-5 liter for each kilo lost during training.
Energy drinks containing electrolytes are designed for this, but if you just eat normal food you’ll get the salt you have lost during sport just as well. If you have lost a lot of sweat(and thereby salt) you should add more salt to your food after training.
Remember: Restitution after training is preparation for next training. Drink water in a steady paste and get to know your body and listen to signals. Get used to drinking a little, but all the time.
Water loss during training ?
If you pee less than normal, you are most likely dehydrated. The color of your pee tells you the same – the darker the more dehydrated you are.
A simple way to estimate your water loss is a test:
- Weigh yourself without clothes before training in minimum an hour. The training should be of the same profile as if you were competing.
- Note the actual time of your training in minutes and the temperature/moisture during training.
- Dry yourself and weigh yourself again, without clothes just after training.
- Subtract the water/fluid you may have drunk during the training g
Do you sweat a lot of salt?
Some athletes loses a lot of salt during training – some lose up to 3-4 grams during 1-2 hours of training. This loss of salt is important to regain during/after training – otherwise muscle cramps may occur.
Energy drinks with high content of salt/sodium (600-1000 mg sodium per liter) can reduce the risk of muscle cramps. Not all sweats out same amount of salt – one way of testing this is to wear a black T-shirt and then look for salt crystals.