How to hydrate for best performance and wellness

How to hydrate for best performance and wellness

Hydrating what does that even mean?

The dictionary says the process of causing something to absorb water.
“The human body requires adequate hydration to function properly”
When I bring up the topic with athletes I coach and ask what is your take on hydration the typical answer is “I make sure I drink water all day”.

I don’t disagree with drinking water, however, what water are you drinking?
Bottled water for instance has a rating of “C” at best when it comes to cleanliness.
The contaminate limits on bottled water are higher than tap water, let that sink in for a minute.

What do drink your water from?

Plastic bottle, glass bottle, or stainless steel bottle?
I don’t care for plastic bottles for obvious reasons, plasticizers leach into your water a process that is exacerbated by temperature changes and heat exposure. Glass bottles are great in regards to cleanliness but cumbersome and fragile.
I prefer stainless steel bottles, made from a food-grade quality 304 stainless steel.
Even at home, I carry around my stainless bottle as its convenient, durable and with double-wall construction, it keeps my water cool.

Drink just water?

No, I typically add a quality salt rich in minerals to it like Redmond’s real salt.
Remember the definition is “cause something to absorb water” if you drink plain water in larger amounts you dilute your electrolyte levels and the water runs right through you. Maybe flushing your kidneys but also taxing them if they have to work to retain sodium levels.
If your goal is hydrating for a physical event like a spirited MTB ride at Greer Ranch or a race then just water is a bad strategy, diluted salt and electrolyte levels impair muscle contraction and even lead to cramping.
The goal is to retain needed fluids to lubricate joints and tissues.
You want your muscles to be like a juicy steak, not a beef jerky!

Cutting out junk food with its high but poor quality sodium content required me to add more salt daily on more active days I will increase it according to the demand.
If you are following a low carb diet or even a ketogenic-type diet it may be advisable to add salt as well since low carb intake causes you to retain less water.

Potential problems can arise if you have kidney issues that cause you to retain more salt than desirable, in this case, be cautious with your intake and consult with your medical professional.

Other things I may add to my water on demand are potassium chloride and magnesium malate during hot rides and some lemon juice to make it tastier. If my electrolytes are depleted it causes burning and unwilling muscles, a feeling you want to avoid that also comes with a significant loss of performance.

How do I get my water?

I use a 5 stage filtration and reverse osmosis filtration system under my sink that takes my tap water up a notch by removing most contaminants.
It is not forbidden to add fruits or herbs to infuse your water while you store it in the fridge this can make for a thirst-quenching tasty drink during the summer months.

Studies showed that water-rich fruit like watermelon can work quite well in regards to rehydrating after exercise and or heat exposure.

What about coffee and caffeine?

Coffee and caffeine can cause you to lose sodium, minerals, water, and electrolytes.
I avoid it during demanding days, if you use gels avoid the caffeinated version on hot days.

Water and fat loss?

Flushing out your electrolytes and sodium levels can cause a rise in insulin for an extended period of time as the kidneys try to hold on to the remaining sodium, this is not a good position to be in if weight loss is your goal.

When should you drink?

Forget the drink before you are thirsty as it has caused weekend warriors to overconsume liquids and dilute the sodium levels so far that even fatal hyponatremia cases have been reported at endurance events.
Drink when you are thirsty take enough along to make sure you don’t run out.

How much should you drink?

There is no clear recommendation, I typically drink about an ounce per pound of body weight, less when it’s cool maybe more when it’s hot and I’m sweating.

Stay healthy my friend and thrive with Primal Life

Rob

 

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