5 Ways to get workout hydration right, first time
Up to 60% of our bodies are made of water, and working out, particularly in the hot weather, makes us sweat and lose a lot of that water - so we need to stay hydrated! Replenishing the water our bodies lose during a workout is essential; it helps the body's tissues and joints to function properly, as well as aiding the transportation of nutrients and helping to regulate body temperature. Many of us are guilty of not drinking enough or making the wrong beverage choices when we workout. These 5 tips will help you get workout hydration right!
#1. Choose the right drink
It's as much about what you drink as it is about how much you drink. When it comes to choosing the perfect workout beverage, keep it simple. For most of us, water is the best choice - plain, still water, not vitamin or fruit-flavoured water, but if your workout is particularly intense or very long, chocolate milk is the next best thing! That's because it contains sodium and calcium to help replenish the amount lost during a workout, protein to repair damage and carbs to give you loads of energy. Look for natural chocolate milk with no additives or make your own. Coconut water is also a great choice. Don't worry about replenishing electrolytes as you can get these from food!
#2. Drink the right amount
First, the bad news - there's not a set amount of water you should consume during your workout, so you should just drink to satisfy your thirst. If you fancy getting technical, you can calculate your sweat rate - although it's pretty complex and not really an exact science. If you sweat a lot you should be drinking around 4 to 6 ounces of water (118 to 177ml) every 15 to 20 minutes.
#3. Don't drink too much
It's rare to drink too much when you're working up a sweat, but it is posible. Most at risk are athletes drinking a lot of fluid during marathons - if not enough sodium is consumed, you could develop hyponatremia, which can be life-threatening. Symptoms include nausea, bloating, confusion, seizures and feeling disoriented. It's unusual to be over-hydrated; most of us don't drink enough!
#4. Add some carbs and protein
Our muscles, cells and tissues can all incur damage after a workout. Addng protein to your beverage can help to repair this damage. You might be thinking a protein shake is a good bet, but wait! It's also important to include some carbs to replenish your energy levels - in fact, you need to include around three times as many carbs as protein. So try some flavoured milk, delicious and nutritious.
#5. When to drink
Most of us don't start consuming fluids until we're actually sweating from the exertion of our workout. But it's recommended to start drinking before you even set foot on that treadmill! If you're about to run a marathon, you'll need to start drinking around 1.5 to 2 hours beforehand. Most of us don't drink enough during our workouts, and that means you'll have to rehydrate afterwards. So make sure you're consuming enough fluids both before and during your run, boxing session or Bikram yoga class.
Staying hydrated can transform your workouts and help to fuel your energy levels, as well as aiding muscle repair and ensuring you get the best results from your strength and cardio workouts. Avoid sugar-packed and additive-packed sports drinks, stick to protein shakes, water, coconut water or flavoured milk and drink until you no longer feel thirsty - and you can't lose!