8 tips to avoid dehydration leading into training as an athlete

Posted on November 30, 2020 by

The recent warm weather has reminded us of the impact of the heat and how much it can catch up with your health and performance.

Your body tries to stay cool to manage the heat through sweating and respiration which means there is a greater need for more fluids to replenish what is used and to continue to keep cool. When training in the heat this process will be heightened and create a greater need for replenishing fluids.

The impact of dehydration with merely a 2% body weight drop due to fluid losses (mainly sweat and respiration), has been shown to impair exercise capacity.

This only worsens with greater fluid losses as blood volume and cardiac output is reduced therefore impacting oxygen capacity and delivery to the working muscles.

There are some signs and signals that you may be dehydrated which will also have an impact on training if fluid levels aren’t replenished.

  • Poor concentration and decision making
  • Decreased skill performance
  • Dry eyes and mouth
  • Slow reaction times
  • Fatigue, feeling tired
  • Headaches
  • Overheating
  • Cramps, twitchy muscles

Rather than wait to feel the impact of dehydration to realise you need to do something about it, stay on top of your hydration and show up to training hydrated using the following tips:

 

How to arrive at training hydrated: Set up cues or habits to encourage drinking

1. Keep water next to your bed and drink a glass when you wake up

2. Have a glass of water with every meal. Six meals and snacks daily means you’ve already consumed 1.5L across your day

3. Always carry a drink bottle, and make sure it’s an attractive one that makes you want to drink

4. Make use of other forms of fluid like soda or flavoured mineral water to encourage drinking if water is getting a bit boring

5. Drink tea whilst at work or studying. If the caffeine in the tea will be a problem later at night, consider herbal tea like peppermint or camomile to hydrate

6. Sip water across the day, rather than just downing a huge drink bottle at one time and feeling overly full from the water

7. Check your urine colour a couple of hours before training. It should be clear or pale yellow, especially the night before an early training session

8. Remain aware of your body, checking in with how your body feels and what signals it’s giving you can be very helpful to establish if you are needing water or not. Dry lips, thirst, headache, feeling tired could all be indicators that you aren’t hydrated enough to add an extra glass of water on top of your regular drinking

 

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