by Elizabeth Jarrard (as originally posted on Vega’s Blog) Water, water everywhere but how much should you drink? Whether you’re brand new to running, or a seasoned triathlete, hydration questions are top of mind as the weather gets warmer. Learn why staying hydrated matters—for health and performance, and how to ensure you’re hydrated all summer long. Sweat it out When beads of sweat drop off your face, you’re not just losing water, you’re also losing electrolytes. If you’ve ever finished a race and discovered a white powder—similar to fine salt—on your skin, you’ve seen firsthand that loss of electrolytes. The amount of water and electrolytes you lose depends on the temperature, humidity, type of activity and your genetic predisposition. As you probably know if you work out with any training partners, some people are naturally heavy sweaters, while others barely break a sweat. The main ingredient: water Water is just as essential as oxygen for your body. Your blood is mostly water, and you better believe it needs plenty of it to deliver all key substances—like oxygen, nutrients, and hormones—to and waste from the cells. You also need water to regulate your body’s temperature and keep your skin firm. Electrolytes for the win! Electrolytes are a hot buzz word, but can you name the five main electrolytes off the top of your head? Hello sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium and chloride, and thank you for regulating our fluid balance, blood pH, heart, nerve and muscle function. These minerals are electrically charged, which means that they have the ability to conduct electrical impulses—essential in firing off muscle contractions. In order to keep muscular, cardiac, nervous, and digestive systems all running smoothly, an adequate supply of electrolytes is required.1 But how much do I sweat? A sweat test is the easiest way to tell how much water (and sodium) you’re losing during an average workout. All you need is a scale—either at home or at your gym.
- Measure body weight before your workout
- Sweat it out
- Hop on a scale immediately after—with the exact same clothes that you weighed yourself in earlier (they should be sweaty—and probably a little smelly).
- Subtract weight after exercise from your weight before. If you weigh 155 pounds before and 153 pounds after, unfortunately you did not lose 2 pounds in fat—it was likely water.
- 16 ounces (2 cups) of water should be consumed for every pound that has been lost.
- Besides water, consume 250 mg of sodium per pound of weight lost. Look at the nutrition label of your electrolyte replacement to see if it meets your needs. 2