It’s summer, and we are bound to get sweaty and hot more than usual. We all know water is good for us, but are you drinking enough or too much and when are a sports drink appropriate, if ever?
1. F*#$%!& the eight glasses a day rule.
I dislike this advice for a few reasons, first of all, how many different “glass” sizes do you have in your cabinet. I have five that I can think of, and each will hold a wide variety of different amounts of water. Who has a standard 8oz glasses in their cabinets or wants to take the time to measure them? Not me. Second, who carries glasses around with them all day? Third, it’s not very accurate. What’s easy to measure is a portable water bottle. If you are one of the few people that don’t own a non-toxic water bottle, buy a good one today. Any one of these that are chemical-free will do. Next make it a point to fill it up with fresh, clean, filtered water first thing in the morning. I find that for most people who have a moderate workout schedule a minimum of two-three liters a day is a realistic goal. You may need a bit less; you may need a bit more. If you are a larger person, you may need more. Another good measurement is half your body weight in ounces.
Try this test out to see how your water consumption needs can vary depending on a variety of factors. I’m not saying this calculator is extremely accurate, but it can be helpful to see how many factors come into play.
2. Slow or Fast?
Sipper or Glupper? It’s better to sip water periodically throughout the day, don’t wait til you are dying of thirst, just have a few sips every so often. If the taste of water is unappealing, you can add lemon, mint or cucumbers to the water to make it more palatable. Keep a bottle at your desk and bring it with you on errands etc. Don’t forget to take it with you when you leave the gym! Our gym has a collection of water bottles in the lost and found box.
3. Ice Ice, Baby!
Water is best when drunk room temp or maybe a tad cooler, but not very cold or iced. It assimilates into your body best when it’s room temp. If you are working out and you notice water sloshing around you probably have been drinking too much or water that is too cold. Very Cold water can also cause side cramps when working out, which are no fun.
4. What’s You Color?
The best test it to monitor the color of your pee. With the exception of your first morning trip to the toilet, your urine should be translucent with a slight yellow hue, not anywhere close to an orange or brownish hue.
If it’s entirely clear you may have been drinking too much water (or consuming alcohol), in which case you are flushing out too many electrolytes. You want a slight yellow tinge of color to your pee.
Note, if you are taking vitamins like C and B, you will see a bright yellow color.
5. Eat for Hydration
Food can make up as much as 20% of your water intake. While food can’t take the place of proper water consumption, it makes a difference if you eat lots of fresh organic veggies and fruits and stay away from processed food you are doing pretty good.
6. Healthy Salt?
There is a difference between table salt and REAL sea salt. Your body needs the many nutrients in real sea salt, and it’s fine to salt your food a bit, especially if you are working out.
7. When a Sports Drink is a Good Idea
Fresh filtered water is fine for an hour workout. Don’t reach for that sugary drink just because it tastes better; you won’t die of thirst during your workout just because you drank plain water. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that Vitamin Water or Gatorade is necessary, or even supportive, of your body fat goals – it isn’t! But if you work out strenuously especially in hot conditions for over an hour you’ll need an electrolyte supplement. I like a small coconut water or something like this electrolyte product. If you are a hardcore athlete training for a marathon or have long duration type session of two or more hours, we’ve had some great success with this EFS Drink.
Stay away from Gatorade, Vitamin Water and the like as they contain nasty chemicals and processed or fake sugar. Yuck.
Hope this clears up some of your hydration questions. Now get out there and work up a sweat!