If there’s one thing that all forms of exercise – be it your evening Zumba class or your morning runs – demand, it’s for you to stay hydrated. While performing a vigorous workout, you not only feel tired but also lose fluids from your body through sweating. Hence, it becomes essential that you drink more fluids to regain lost electrolytes. Here are some tips to help you stay hydrated before, during, and after an intense workout session.
1. Drink After Every 15 Minutes
It’s impossible to drink a gallon of water right before a workout unless you want to throw up halfway through your run. To stay hydrated without going overboard, drink a little water (7–10 ounces) after every 15 minutes of your workout. This way, you’d be able to drink at least 25 ounces of fluid before completing your one-hour workout.
2. Drink Two Hours Before The Workout
If you’re running a marathon or training for a sporting event, the above-mentioned drinking method isn’t sufficient. Along with hydrating during a workout, it also becomes necessary that you drink enough fluids beforehand. So, aim to drink at least 16 ounces of fluid about 2 hours before the workout. This way, the fluids you drink will be in your body for long enough, and you won’t feel uneasy during the performance.1
3. Drink Post Your Workout
Post-workout hydration is something you can’t skip. During your workout, you lose electrolytes in the form of sweat. If you’re running a marathon, then you’d probably have lost a tiny percentage of your body weight. If this weight loss is over 2–3% of your body weight, then it’s likely that you’re dehydrated. To recover the lost body weight, you need to drink at least 16–24 ounces of fluid after your workout.2
A trick to figure out whether you’re dehydrated is to examine the color of your urine post workout. A dark yellow color is a sign of dehydration. On the other hand, if your pee is pale yellow or straw-colored, it means that your body is properly hydrated, so you have nothing to worry about.3
4. Don’t Just Stick To Water
Most of us equate hydration with drinking water, but this is only partially true. While it’s not okay to skip the water altogether, it’s good to also drink other fluids. You can, of course, opt for energy drinks, but they might be filled with sugar and might be a problem if you’re trying to stay away from consuming excess sugar. Here’s a list of other drinks you can opt for. These drinks will not only help you stay hydrated but also boost your endurance and thereby improve your performance.
Consume half a glass of beetroot juice right before your sporting event to enhance stamina. A study showed that a group of cyclists who consumed beetroot juice before their performance displayed an increase in stamina by 15%.4
Drink one glass of pomegranate after your workout. The drink increases your fluid intake along with helping your muscles recover post-workout. The fruit is rich in polyphenols, which are antioxidants that can reduce muscle soreness and inflammation by up to 10%, thus aiding muscle recovery.5
Drink a glass of pickle juice post the sporting event or workout to regain lost electrolytes. Pickle juice is rich in magnesium and potassium, which replenish the lost electrolytes.6
Remember how Popeye popped open a can of spinach every time he wanted that extra boost of energy? Spinach is rich in nitrates, which act directly on your cells to release energy and boost stamina. If you’re looking for an alternative to sports drinks, a bottle of spinach smoothie might be all you need.7
These are just some ways to ensure hydration during a workout. However, if you don’t drink enough water the whole month and expect just one day of hydration to do the trick, it might not work. Make sure you drink at least 67 ounces (or 2 liters) of fluids every day. Also, avoid sugar or carbonated drinks as they might end up doing more harm than good.
|↑1, ↑2||A Guide to Staying Hydrated While Running. Hospital for special surgery.|
|↑3||Running on Empty? Athlete Hydration and Its Impact on Performance. University of Connecticut.|
|↑4||Beetroot Juice for Endurance? University of Nevada, Las Vegas.|
|↑5||Ammar, Achraf, Mouna Turki, Hamdi Chtourou, Omar Hammouda, Khaled Trabelsi, Choumous Kallel, Osama Abdelkarim et al. “Pomegranate Supplementation Accelerates Recovery of Muscle Damage and Soreness and Inflammatory Markers after a Weightlifting Training Session.” PloS one 11, no. 10 (2016): e0160305.|
|↑6||Fact or Fiction? Common athletic performance misconceptions. Texas A&M University Health Science Center.|
|↑7||Spinach ‘may boost exercise’. National Health Services.|