It can be a difficult challenge to calculate how much to drink during a workout. You’ll be losing fluid that must be replaced, but too much water can leave you bloated and sluggish. This article will help you understand the optimum water consumption for any gym session!
It’s no secret how important exercise is for a healthy body and mind, but it comes with its own set of risks that must be monitored. Even on a low-energy day of lounging on the sofa we still lose a great deal of fluid from our bodies throughout the day, and if we’re working up a sweat by frantically pumping legs on an exercise bike, pounding the treadmill or lifting weights that we’re shedding even more fluid.
Dehydration is dangerous at the best of times, but never more than when we’re working out – and if you’re exercising to improve your general health and well being, why would you take the risk of allowing yourself to become thirsty? Going without sufficient water while we exercise can reduce performance by up to a quarter, so how much water is the optimum amount, and when should we be drinking it?
Firstly, as scary as it may seem, get on the scales before you start your regular workouts – it’ll help you keep an eye on how much fluid you are losing during your exercise regime. For every 2lbs of weight that we drop we’re sacrificing a litre of water from our bodies, and that will need to be replaced. Watching the weight fall off is hugely satisfying, but don’t neglect the need to stay safe – always restore your body’s water supply to the pre-weight loss levels.
The next tip to master is drinking enough water before you start your physical exertion. Obviously not too much lest you end up feeling bloated and even nauseous while you exercise, but drinking a couple of glasses of clear fluid around two hours before hitting the gym will give your metabolism a natural boost, as will an additional 8oz glass just as you start to warm up.
This means that any unwelcome fat reserves are converted to energy faster, increasing the effectiveness of your workout and helping you achieve your intention, and you’ll also have more energy so you can keep going long after you initially feel the burn. Of course, the more water reserves that your body has before you begin also means that it will be longer before you need to take a rehydration break.
Once you have made a start it becomes increasingly important to stay on top of your hydration needs. First and foremost, listen to your body – if you’re feeling that you need to rehydrate, don’t ignore the sensation and hope it goes away. Regular sipping is essential to stay on top of your water needs, and waiting until you actually become thirsty while exercising and attempting to rectify the problem afterwards, is a potential recipe for disaster.
The human body can usually get away with around fifteen minutes of high-intensity exercise without needing a water break, as long you take the time to rehydrate appropriately afterwards. Anything beyond this will require refreshment every fifteen minutes, potentially more if you really feel that you are working up a particularly prominent sweat. Keep a water bottle on hand and drink throughout your regime, ensuring that you don’t let those quarter-hour landmarks pass without rehydration.
Resist the temptation to stop completely and guzzle a full glass, though – you’ll overload your organs with too much fluid when you attempt to start moving again, and the pause will leave your limbs at risk of seizing up! A HydrateM8 tracker bottle can help with your sipping needs – they’re the perfect size for a gym bag and the flip lids make for easy sipping, plus the tracker markings on the back will help you consume an appropriate quantity of water with each break.
Of course, you’ll also need to rehydrate after you have completed your workout. When you’ve had a chance to cool off, make sure you take in another 8oz glass at the very least – and make sure it’s water that you’re drinking! It may seem like a good idea to reach for an energy drink to give yourself a boost after all that hard work, but doing so may overload your body with sugar. Do you really want to undo all the health-conscious action you’ve just undertaken? Room temperature water will always be the most effective method of rehydrating after physical exercise.
This may seem like a whole lot of water to drink, and it undeniably is, but always keep in mind – you are not adding to the supply found within your body, but instead replacing that which you have lost over the course of the day. Prevention is always better than cure where dehydration is concerned, so make sure you keep on top of your body’s water needs – it will make your regime even more effective, and minimise the risk of any adverse effects in the aftermath.