Hydration Tips for Triathletes
6 Tips for Getting All the Water You Need to Keep Your Body Strong and Healthy
Water is more than just hydrating before each race; for me it is a way of life! If you haven’t heard me rant about it yet...here we go! Water-Water-WATER!!!
There really is no better way to tell you about water and its importance then to start at the beginning. Your body is half water. That’s right, half of what you are composed of, is good ‘ole water. Your body’s water level is finicky and if it lowers by just a little bit, a lot can happen! When your body has less water than it needs it is called dehydration. Most people know this, but it’s easier than you think to become dehydrated. In one hour of exercise, it’s possible for your body to lose 1 quart of water. If you haven’t hydrated before exercise you might find yourself with one or all of these: muscle fatigue, loss of coordination, lower performance, cramps, less energy, and even heat exhaustion or heat stroke!
As a personal trainer, I deal with questions pertaining to weight loss and overall health. Well, when you are losing body fat, you are using body fat for energy and this process creates waste. Guess what is crucial for energy transport and waste disposal in your body? WATER! Water helps in two ways: 1. Water helps your cells get rid of waste in your body; 2. Water helps you get rid of waste in the bathroom. Yes, I went there. Water keeps everything flushed out, enabling your body to expel waste and, therefore, lose weight and stay healthy.
Now, you are probably wondering, “How much water should I be drinking?” Well, this depends on who you are.
If you are woman, The Institute of Medicine says you need 91 oz of water a day. However, you are not ordinary women. YOU are an ATHLETE. So, on top of your daily water, The American Council on Exercise says you need 17-20 oz of water before exercise, 7-10 oz every 10-20 minutes of exercise, and then water to replace what you have lost in your workout. I am a visual learner so here’s that looks like.
Daily Water: 91oz
It works out to be a little over eight and a half (but let’s round up to nine) 16.9 oz bottles of water or six 24 oz water bottles.
I know personally that this can be a lofty goal. I also know it will feel like you are going to have to pee every 20 minutes. But, your body will regulate, I promise.
Here are a few tricks I use to make sure I am properly hydrated every day:
1) Find a fun cup and make it your “Water Cup!” I prefer a cup with a straw for my desk and something that is spill proof for my bike and car. I also run with a hand held water bottle. (Drinking out of designated, reusable water bottles will not only help you monitor the fluid ounce intake while training, at home or at work, but we are also helping to reduce plastic waste!)
2) Start you day off with at least 10-20 oz before you do any grooming, etc. (We are trying to start good habits, ladies!)
3) Drink water the way YOU like it! (Warm, room temp, cool, ice cold, tap, or filtered don’t let anyone tell you the way you drink water is wrong. Yes, there are slight benefits to each temperature, etc. but quantity is what we are going for here!)
4) Balance! If I have a coffee or alcohol, I drink the same amount of water afterwards. (I am currently drinking a Venti Iced Americano while writing! Next, I go for a Venti H2O!)
5) Mix it up! You can put lemon, mint, watermelon, peach slices, cucumber, or any favorite fruit in your water. Whatever you need to do to make you WANT water.
6) Electrolyte Packs/Tabs are a great way to hydrate without all the sugar of sports drinks!