By: Hope Osborn
You finish up at the office for the day, hop in your car, and, head on over to the gym for your workout. Finishing up, you take a long satisfyingly refreshing drink of your favorite beverage … Stop right there!
Maybe you have had a few sips along the way and maybe you have had some things to drink during the day, but are you hydrated? Are you really getting the most out of your workout? Hydration can make the difference in how well you exercise. It matters when you drink and what you drink for general well-being, for your overall hydration, and for your workout.
Let’s start with some basics. Hydrating for your workout should start long before you ever get to the gym. Make sure you are consuming fluids throughout the day. Drink in the hour previous to your workout, preparing yourself for the extra fluid necessary for sweating it out and burning that energy. The Mayo Clinic recommends that men drink 13 cups of fluid a day and women 9 cups of fluid a day, but even they admit that amounts vary per individual. Don’t go by when you are thirsty; if you get to that point, you are already dehydrated.
What about during the workout? It is even more important to keep your fluid levels elevated to have a good workout. According to the American College of Sport’s Medicine’s Health and Fitness Journal’s Beth Stover, M.S. CSCS and Bob Murray, PhD. FACSM “dehydration decreases blood volume, makes blood…thicker, increases heart rate and makes it more difficult for the body to lose heat,” making exercise more of a challenge.
The fact of it is, if you don’t drink enough you might want to quit early because it is hard to push yourself through the fatigue and heat. A good rule of thumb, according to these experts, is to monitor your weight. If you weigh less after a workout than before, you are not taking in enough fluid during the workout.
There are a lot of different sports drinks out there, confusing us in what we should actually drink. The best thing you can do is to make sure you consume plenty of vitamins and minerals in the things you eat on a daily basis and drink plenty of water you don’t think you are getting enough in your diet, Elaine Magee, MPH, RD of WebMD recommends electrolytes and 14 grams of carbohydrates per 8 oz. of water. Caffeine may seem like a good way to propel yourself through your workout, but it actually dehydrates you.
Start your day out right by consuming fluids throughout your day and then go hop in your car, head on over to the gym for your workout, taking in fluid as you work that body into a healthy shape.
- Magee, Elaine. “What to Drink When You Exercise.” Web MD. Web MD, n.d. Web. 23 Feb. 2014.
- Stover, Beth and Murray, Bob. “Drink Up!: The Science of Hydration.” ACSM’s Health & Fitness Journal 11.2 (2007): 7-12. Web. 23 Feb. 2014.
- “Water: How much should you drink every day?” Mayo Clinic. Mayo Clinic, n.d. Web. 23 Feb. 2014.