Best Hydration Practices For Working Out

man and woman drinking water

The key to optimizing your athletic performance is adequate hydration. Too often people make the mistake of under-drinking; because they don't necessarily feel thirsty, or they don't want to feel the urge to use the restroom while out on a run or during a spin class.

But drinking enough water can mean the drastic difference between using all that your body has to operate at its peak capability, or feeling ill and suffering from low energy.

Before The Workout

Not only should you drink plenty of fluids before a race or a long workout, but you should make a habit of doing so the day before the activity as well. Here's what you can try:

  • It's best to stick with water, but if that seems too boring to you, consider drinking 100% juice or other vitamin-dense beverages, like milk.
  • You wake up the day of your big run, and you're ready to go. Start with eight ounces of fluids at a two-hour stretch before you enter into your workout. You want to give your body ample time to absorb the beverage, and then empty your system before heading out.
  • Right before the race or workout, drink an additional five ounces of water or your desired beverage to tip you over the edge.

Keep Yourself Healthy After The Workout

Your body is unique, so your hydration needs should be as well. A reasonable rule of thumb though, is to drink until your thirst is satiated, and then a little beyond.

The thirst benchmark is not an accurate form of measuring your dehyration level though, so you can check your urine to see if your body has had enough. Your goal urine color should be pale yellow. If your urine is darker than that or hours have passed since you exercised and you still have not urinated, then you are dehydrated and need to keep drinking. Again, drink 100% natural fruit juice or milk if you can't get your hands on water, or you need to switch it up.

Make Your Own Sports Drink

If you don't want to drop the cash on a sports-enhancing beverage, then consider making your own. You can mix one cup of water with one cup of 100% percent fruit juice, and a dash of salt. You may need to repeat this recipe if you are exercising for a prolonged period of time. 

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