The summer months mean the weather is getting hot, or REALLY hot depending on where you live, and keeping hydrated is essential for staying healthy and thriving in your training. Your body is made up of over 50% water, so if you’re dehydrated, you’ll feel the difference in your training energy and recovery.
Let’s talk about some general figures here. At a minimum, we want to be consuming .5 to 1 oz. of fluid per pound of body weight, aiming for the higher end if we are losing more sweat through training. This roughly works out to be around a gallon per day. If we begin to factor in rising temperatures and water loss through sweat outside the gym, we have to work a little harder to ensure that we are properly hydrated. Here are some tips for making hydration a priority this summer.
Hydration Is a Habit
We understand that remembering to drink water isn’t always easy. You’ve probably had instances where you’re headed to the gym and realize you haven’t been drinking enough water for the day, so you chug a water bottle. Unfortunately, if you’re already dehydrated, this isn’t going to cut it, and that bottle of water isn’t going to keep you hydrated through your session.
Just like you track macros to build habits with your food intake, track your water intake to ensure you are hitting your fluid goals consistently. If you have a hard time remembering to drink water, set alarms on your phone and always be sure you have water on hand.
Weigh Your Water Loss
If you’re curious to see how well you are rehydrating throughout training, you can weigh yourself before and after your sessions. Within an hour or two after your session, you should weigh more than before your session. You might find that you lose about a pound or so of water (454 g) while training, so you know that in order to stay hydrated, you need to drink an additional 454 ml while you train. You don’t need to worry about understanding the exact figures, but having a rough idea of how much you are losing versus intaking is an excellent way to spot-check your hydration.
Check Your Urine
Minus your first bathroom trip in the morning, checking the color of your urine is an easy way to check how hydrated you are.
Eat Hydrating Foods
Yep! You can eat your water too. Not only are fruits and veggies a cool, refreshing snack in the heat, but many of them contain water, along with plenty of vitamins and minerals to help keep you hydrated. There are so many we wrote a whole blog about them here.
Manage Sodium and Potassium
Depending on your diet, you may be getting plenty of sodium. However, if you are opting to stay away from processed or packaged foods, adding a bit more salt to your meals in the heat can be beneficial to help you retain more water. For example, many sports drinks or electrolyte solutions like Pedialyte contain added sodium to help keep you hydrated. Both salty foods and sodium-enriched fluids provide sodium to help bond fluid on to something in order to stay hydrated.
Potassium is another electrolyte, often overlooked, but crucial for hydration as it works alongside sodium to maintain proper fluid levels in our bodies. We ideally want to be consuming a sodium and potassium ratio of 1:2. Other than the classic example of a banana, white potato, tomato, avocado, peppers, and spinach are all loaded with potassium. You can also add “sodium-free salt,” which is a potassium blend, to your food to help adjust these ratios.
How do you stay on top of your hydration game when it’s hot out?