Staying Properly Hydrated In The Heat
If you’re like me you’ve been doing a number of your workouts and fitness events outdoors this summer. With outdoor workouts, especially those in the summer, we’re often gifted with plenty of sweat. If you’re like me, you’re gifted with oodles and oodles of sweat … or should I say oozing? Either way you get the point, we’re sweating during out workouts and likely more so than usual during the summer.
With that sweat comes an increased probability of dehydration. So what’s a aspiring healthy person to do? Turn to science and the internet to research what to do of course!
After far too much research I’ve winnowed down some of the data to share:
- The general rule of thumb is to drink 8 ounces of water or sports drink every 20 minutes, no more no less
- If your workout or event is less than 40 – 60 minutes water is likely sufficient
- If your workout or event is greater than 40 – 60 minutes then supplementing with a sports drink is recommended. This sports drink should contain some type of salt (at least 100 mg per 8 ounces) to help with your electrolytes and likely sugar to assist in the absorption of the water into the body faster. It may also contain chloride, potassium, and other nutrients.
- Try to weigh yourself before and after a workout. For every pound of weight you lose drink 8-10 ounces of fluid (see rules above on water or sports drink)
- For more lengthy workouts and events weigh yourself for a few days afterwards and if you’re anywhere from 1% – 4% lighter than the prior days then again drink 8-10 ounces of fluid for every pound lost. If you’re between 4% and 7% lighter then back off for a few days, any more than that and get to the doctor asap!
I didn’t want to bore you with the “if your urine is clear you’re hydrated, dark yellow you’re not” tips as I figured everyone’s heard that a million times. I also don’t want to mislead you into thinking I’m a doctor or an expert so please take some time researching this on your own.
One of the things I didn’t find in my research was how a persons weight or size impact their electrolyte needs. I can only assume that the bigger you are the more you lose but I can’t attest to that with a certainty. I also wish I’d found a better mapping of temperature to hydration needs but again, nada. I know everyone is a little different but it seems like weight before and after is kinda basic and may be too late for longer events.
I’ll also say that the information around hydrating before an event was not consistent at all. Some said to drink at least 2 hours before hand and some warned against it due to possible over hydration (aka hyponatremia).
Trial and error in these situations seems to be the order of the day unfortunately.
One thing was consistent in all my research though, using a sports drink while training was important for anything over an hour. Because I have a lot of training and events to do in the heat this summer I wanted to find a good sports drink to help supplement while training and during the events.
Last year I used HEED but really wasn’t a huge fan of the flavor. I also use Gatorade from time to time but find that it’s not as convenient to mix before riding or running, is too sweet at times, and I’m not really a huge fan of monolithic corporate giant nutrition companies. I know a lot of races have either (or both of them), and people really think it’s best to train with what’s available at the events, but if you don’t like it you don’t like it.
In my research into alternatives I came across the Skratch Labs Exercise Hydration Mix. A few cycling friends really liked it and had similar things to say about Gatorade and HEED, plus Skratch Labs has a great sense of humor:
After reading through their offerings and information about them on their site I decided to place an order to give it a shot. My order arrived yesterday:
They even threw in a few sample one time use packets as well as a sticker to boot Here’s a look at the nutrition and ingredients:
I won’t bore you with more product shots … they’re colorful though aren’t they? I love smart clean designs on packages … yes, I’m a packaging nerd as well.
I really liked that they focused on real fruit for flavor, all natural ingredients, and less sugar and more electrolytes. I’ll let you know what I think in a few weeks after I’ve used it a few times.
If you’re planning on doing any type of training in the heat this summer I really do recommend reading up on hydration and making some educated decisions on how you want to ensure you stay healthy, strong, and in top form. Don’t let the heat scare you away and certainly don’t ignore it’s effects on your mind and body either.
Have fun and try to stay hydrated!