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Ben Torres's picture

Stay Hydrated In The Gym!

Being dehydrated during exercise greatly increases the risk for impaired performance and injury. Even with the slightest level of dehydration, the most well trained athlete can diminish his/her overall performance in the gym or on the field. And with the summer heat we are currently experiencing, added stress can get placed on your cardiovascular and thermoregulatory functions and lead to heat illness.

Generally speaking, most athletes will almost always experience dehydration during training or competition. This is because athletes tend to ignore their sweat loss and fail to frequently consume enough fluids to maintain an adequate level of hydration. As such, many fit athletes can easily fall victim to the subtle effects of dehydration (fatigue, irritability, thirst, lack of focus) and easily impair performance. 

The bottom line is that your hydration status remains the most important factor in determining your ability to compete. A slight 1-2% loss in bodyweight can easily impair your ability to train. Therefore, maintaining proper fluid intake should be the number one nutrtional focus of the athlete during competitioin.

To prevent dehydration during exercise you need to consume fluids before you start exercising, throughout your exercise routine,and after. Generally speaking, an athlete that sweats a modest amount, approx. 1 liter per hour, should be able to consume 8oz of proper fluids every 15 minutes to fully replace sweat loss during exercise.

The National Athletic Trainer's Association states that “including carbohydrates and electrolytes in the rehydration drink can maintain blood glucose, carbohydrate oxidation and electrolyte balance and can maintain performance when the exercise session exceeds 50 minutes in duration or is extremely intense.”During competition, drinking a properly formulated sports drink that combines both carbohydrates and electrolytes has been shown to be an optimal method of preventing dehydration.

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