Why Should I Hydrate Properly
Proper hydration is very important to many aspects of life as our body mass, on average, is ~60% water. This can range from 45%-70% depending on body composition and other factors (1). Due to this fact it is important, as an active individual, to properly prehydrate for activity and assess our hydration as to replace the fluid lost. If total body water (TBW) lost is greater than 2% you can begin to see dips in aerobic performance and mental/cognitive performance (1). Total body water what is that??? Good thing there is an easier way than calculating your TBW to figure out if you are dehydrated.
Easy Hydration Assessment
Lucky for us… 1ml of fluid loss equals 1g of weight loss, so a drop in weight correlates well to the amount of TBW loss during exercise (1). No, we are not going to ask you to break this down by each gram of weight loss, but this is a quick and easy way to see if you have significantly dehydrated with exercise. Knowing that greater than 2% TBW loss and loss in weight are related to decreased performance we can do a quick calculation. First you need to know your body weight prior to exercise, preferably nude as sweat will become soaked in the clothing you are wearing. Next, you must do the same following exercise. You then divide the post-exercise weight by the pre-exercise weight and you will get a decimal number. Multiply this number by 100 to get a percentage and subtract the percentage from 100 to give the percent of weight lost. This in conjunction with urine color can be a very accurate way to assess dehydration (urine color chart attached). If this number is greater than 2% and your urine is on the darker side it is time to focus on returning to euhydration, or normal hydration. How do you do that Iron Standard? Well let’s talk about it…
Rehydration Following Exercise
Before it is even time to exercise you need to be prehydrating in preparation for the activity you are going to perform. While you are exercising you need to attempt to consume fluids to prevent dehydration. Following exercise it is time to replenish any fluid lost. This is a pretty straight forward concept, but there are a few things you need to be aware of. First, fluid is not only replaced by drinking but also consuming foods that are high in water content. This also helps to replace sodium and electrolytes lost while sweating. Next, avoid drinking caffeine and alcohol while attempting to rehydrate. Yes, we all love a nice warm coffee or a cold beer, but following intense exercise may not be the best time. Finally, when you are thirsty, drink!
We at Iron Standard hope this helped! If you have any questions or comments please leave them in the comments section below.
1. American College of Sports Medicine, Sawka MN, Burke LM, Eichner ER, Maughan RJ, Montain SJ, Stachenfeld NS. American College of Sports Medicine position stand. Exercise and fluid replacement. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2007 Feb;39(2):377-90. doi: 10.1249/mss.0b013e31802ca597. PMID: 17277604.1.