Stay On Top Of Your Hydration This Summer! With These Simple Strategies…

It’s the middle of summer, it’s hot and you’re sweating a little more than usual during workouts.

I’m sure you are already drinking the recommended 2L of water per day… But is that enough to keep you hydrated during summer? Is it enough to keep you performing at your best? And recovering enough between workouts?

During the cooler months the widely recommended 2L a day is enough for most people. It will keep the body functioning normally.  But…

The warmer months have a few additional factors to take into consideration. The humidity, intensity of your workout and whether training indoors or outdoors. 

Your hydration strategy needs to change to accommodate these different situations. It changes daily and the better you understand your body the easier it is to make the changes, stay hydrated and performing at your best. 

The easiest way to gauge if you’re well hydrated is the colour of your urine. If you are well hydrated it will be clear or a light yellow in colour. Check out the chart below... 

If you find it is dark, it’s too late. You are already dehydrated. Not on the way, not nearly dehydrated you are already there! You need to drink water asap! (Keep reading and I will share how quickly your body can actually absorb water)  

If you already gauge your hydration using this method and find it a bit hit and miss then give this next method a go…

It requires a little more effort but will let you know exactly how much you need to drink! 

Here’s how…

  1. Weigh yourself in a well hydrated state (generally at the start of your workout)

  2. Weigh yourself at the end of the workout. 

  3. Calculate how much weight you lost (be careful to consider the amount of water you drank during the workout too this throws people off)

  4. Drink the amount of water you lost as quickly as possible to re-hydrate. 

How fast can your body actually absorb the water?

Scientists from the University of Montreal tested this. They had 36 subjects drink 300mL of water.  Within 5 minutes of drinking the water it had entered the bloodstream. On average 150mL was absorbed every 10-15 minutes among all participants. If you use this figure as a rough guide it would be safe to say you could absorb around 600mL per hour. 

If you want to read the study you can find it here:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21997675

But what about electrolytes? Are they good for you? Do you need them? 

The advertising companies tell us they are important… and you see all the sports stars drinking it straight after a game. 

Firstly electrolytes are sodium, potassium, chloride and bicarbonate… There are more but these are the basics. If you’re a CrossFitter eating a well balanced diet with plenty of lean meat, fruits and vegetables you shouldn’t have to worry about being deficient.

Keep eating well but if you ever experience cramping, nausea or headaches while training in hot weather it could be worth experimenting with one of these methods:

  1. Adding a little bit of salt to your water. Just a pinch is fine.

  2. Coconut water

  3. Magnesium supplements.

Those training for a triathlon or long endurance event may need to consider supplementing electrolytes.

If your goal is to keep the body fat off then avoid the sugary sports drinks and stick to just adding salt or ORS (Oral Rehydration Salts) you can buy from the pharmacy.  

Water is boring to drink all day. What else can I drink instead?

Here are my 3 favourite drinks during summer:

  1. Iced tea. T2 is an awesome shop to get iced tea from. They have heaps of flavours to chose from. Just make sure you get the ones without added sugar. Peach and Pomegranate are my favourites. 

  2. Soda water with lemon or lime.

  3. Lemon Lime and bitters with soda water. I know bitters has sugar in it but a couple of drops makes it taste awesome!  

What is the best way to measure your fluid intake...

Below is a picture of a 2L water bottle with the times marked on it. Leave it on your desk or close by you while at work and make sure you keep up with where you should be throughout the day. This turns it into a bit of a challenge and if you're like me you will love a challenge.