Water is one of the most important things we take into our bodies.  It is one of three micronutrients – the other two being vitamins and minerals – that are essential for human life.   In fact, anywhere from 55 – 70% of our bodies are made of water.  It serves several purposes such as:

  • Helps carry nutrients such as vitamins, minerals and glucose to cells
  • Aids in chemical and metabolic reactions such as removal of toxins from the body
  • Serving as a lubricant for joints
  • Regulating body temperature

Understanding the importance of water is essential for athletes as even the slightest amount of dehydration can severely decrease performance. Studies have shown that dehydration of 2% of body weight can decrease performance up to 20%.

Dehydration affects the body in different ways. Core body temperature increases by 0.2°C for every 1% of body weight lost. This will put strain on the cardiovascular system as it tries to cool the body.

Lactate levels in the muscle also increase leading to muscle cramping.  This will also cause a decrease in athletic performance.

Since hydration is so important how are we able to track our hydration level?  Two of the most effective ways to measure are by urine colour and body weight. If urine is dark yellow, it’s a sign that you need to increase your fluid intake. The other way of gauging hydration is by looking at pre and post exercise body weight. A decrease in body weight following exercise is a sign of water loss.   This needs to be replenished after your work out.

Ideal Hydration Protocol:

Males: 4 water bottles/day
Females: 3 water bottles/day

2 Hours Before Exercise: 500 – 600mL

Every 15 – 20 Minutes During Exercise: 200 – 300mL

Post Exercise: 700mL for every pound of body weight lost