Performance Hydration

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Sparkling, flat, reverse osmosis, flavored, Gatorade, plastic or glass  …  I can go on and on.

As a registered dietitian, I hear these hydration questions thrown around often, so what’s the deal?

The human body is composed of ~75% water and we all need this key nutrient for organ system function as well as for optimal physical performance. Humans perform best when our cells and body are well maintained and adequately hydrated!

Think back to your fluid intake today.

Unconscious of our daily water needs, many of us begin our days with the routine trip to Starbucks for the morning caffeine fix. If you are a Miami local, maybe you opted for the beloved cortadito/cafe con leche of course. For lunch, maybe you had a few sips from a water bottle during a meeting and then a tea or juice drink with lunch. Add in another afternoon coffee/cortadito around 3pm for the “afternoon pick-me-up”, and before you know it you are at the gym. Meanwhile, your cells have been pumped with sugar and caffeine for the majority of the day.

Ideally, one should consume at least 1ml/kg of body weight and for those of us athletes out there your fluid needs could be more than 3000ml/day !

“…But that’s why I drink Powerade/Gatorade throughout the day and after a workout – to stay hydrated.”

There are definitely much healthier ways to stay hydrated without the extra chemicals and sugar. A 20oz lemon-lime Gatorade has 36g of carbohydrate and 34g of sugar with about 270mg sodium and 75mg potassium (the electrolytes). According to the USDA, 1 dash of salt is equivalent to 155mg sodium so when you think about it, you are basically paying for food dye and sugar.

Why not put it in perspective, one 12 oz can of coca- cola has 39g of carbohydrate and equal part sugar. That is about a 3g difference between your “healthy” electrolyte drink and a coke. Is it still healthy?

My suggestion…

Whether it is reverse osmosis, sparkling or flat, water is the preferred source for cellular health and performance hydration. Replacing electrolytes before and after a work out can be supportive for high intensity, endurance and strength training. If this sounds like you, check out my tips below for optimal hydration minus the food dyes and chemicals!

Tips for Optimal Hydration:

  1. Make your own electrolyte drink (check out the easy recipes below) !
  2. Invest in a BPA free water bottle/jug with the fluid oz marked on the bottle to help keep track of your intake throughout the day.
  3. Determine your daily fluid needs – ex: a 63kg female daily fluid needs are about 1500ml/day or 1.5L/day (not accounting for excess loss from exercise/sweat).
  4. Minimize the caffeine and sugar filled drinks. These will only make you more thirsty and who needs the extra calories anyway?!
  5. For my endurance/strength training athletes, replacing electrolytes lost in sweat is pivotal for optimal performance and hydration. Use a 4-8% carb source (lemon or fresh citrus/fruit juice) in a 500ml water solution 2 hr before the event/training session and continue to drink cool or cold water at intervals during the work-out.

Homemade Electrolyte Recipes

  • Citrus Fusion
    • 2 Cups H2O
    • 1/2 tsp natural sweetener (light agave, honey, stevia leaf extract)
    • 1/8 tsp or pinch of salt
    • Juice of 1 lemon and 1 orange (fresh squeezed preferably)
  • Antioxidant Blend
    • 1/4 cup fresh blueberries
    • 2 -3 strawberries (stems removed)
    • 1/8 tsp salt
    • 1/2 tsp natural sweetener
    • 1 tbsp chia seed (soaked in water over night)
    • Ice
  • Coco Refresh
    • 2 cups coconut water
    • splash of natural pineapple juice (~ 2 tbsp)
    • 1/8 tsp salt
    • 1/2 tsp natural sweetener

Combine ingredients and Enjoy!

 

References:

1.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2908954/

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