Infinit Nutrition Canada - Premium Sport-Specific Nutrition

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

How To Stay Hydrated and Achieve Your True Potential!!

We have blogged about this before and we will likely blog about it again.  There are so many theories on how to stay hydrated, how much do I consume, should I take salt/electrolytes, do I drink only when I am thirsty.....I can tell you it all depends.  Your hydration is a personal thing.  Your sweat rate and saltiness of your sweat will vary wildly compared to other athletes.  The concentration or saltiness of your sweat will remain fairly constant during  different activities, but your personal volume of fluid loss will change dramatically depending on the intensity and the weather conditions you are training or competing in.
Get used to taking two bottles out on your bike and one in your jersey pocket.

How and why do we lose fluids?  First we lose water through every breath we take, it is part of the gas we breath out: water vapour.  As your respiration rate increases, the amount of water you lose through your breath also increases.  Of course we lose it through our sweat.  Our sweat response is triggered to keep our core body temperature down as we build heat with higher intensity exercise and due to our environment.  On cool days, we still sweat, but not as much as we would on a hotter day, where our body has to fight hard to keep that temperature down, through increased sweating.  The last major way we lose fluids is through our urine.  So to really know how much water/fluids to ingest while training, we have to determine what our fluid rate loss is for a given intensity, in certain the weather conditions we will be exposed to.  It is not just about sweat loss!

After failing miserably in some Ironmans, one losing 10 pounds during 10 hours, 45 minutes at Lake
Placid I did some heavy research for personal reasons.  I knew my level of hydration wasn't allowing me to achieve my full athletic potential.  What I found out, is that if you very carefully weigh yourself before and after longer bikes/runs, track your intake, then you can pretty precisely determine your fluid loss rate for that intensity and the weather conditions you just trained in.  With this number, we recommend that you ingest 75% of this amount of fluid you expect to lose, to stay reasonably hydrated through most endurance events.

For the race above, I was consuming 600 ml or about a bottle an hour.  What I learned afterwards was that I lose 1200 ml/hr for Ironman pace bikes and runs.  So, ideally I need to ingest 900 ml/hr to stay in good shape.  So not hard to see why I lost 10 pounds, I was consuming 600 ml/hr less than my body was losing per hour.

I use a spreadsheet that I am happy to send to anyone.  Just email me at darcy@infinitnutrition.ca and I will send it along.  Simple tool, weigh yourself with no clothes before and after urinating (empty bladder), record what you took in and enter the time you trained for.  Spreadsheet does the rest.  But remember this is for the weather conditions you just trained for.  We recommend that you do multiple tests, different intensities and weather conditions - on race day or when you are going for a long training session, take 75% of a similar training situation and that is the volume per hour you should target.

Hydrating well, makes it more enjoyable, you will be stronger late in training sessions and just as important, it truly sets up your recovery.  The better you are hydrated at the end, the better your recovery can be.

Always happy to help, love seeing people achieve their full potential.

- Darcy Haggith, President, Infinit Nutrition Canada