I'm often asked advice by friends "what is the one nutritional tip I have for them". My go-to answer is to hydrate better. Since 75% of us are chronically dehydrated, this is the easiest thing you can do to instantly improve your performance as an athlete.
I've put together my hacks for avoiding dehydration throughout the day and how to avoid the pitfalls so you can stick with this hydration strategy.
1) 🥤Watch out for the calorie trap.
I want to keep my calories low when I'm focused on daily hydration. When I'm working out, calories are great, but not when I'm not sweating. It is easy to consume 80 to 150 unnecessary calories with a ready to drink hydration option like Gatorade, Vitamin or Coconut water. Avoid this at all cost.
I'm looking for a nominal (less than 30 calories) in a daily hydration product. Which is why I use why I primarily use Nuun's low-calorie tablets for most of my daily hydration needs.
2) 🌈Add some flavor, and you will stick with it.
Water is excellent, but I know that if I have 32 oz of water on my desk, it is a daunting task to get it all down. But if I add some subtle flavoring, I'll consistently finish 64 oz per day while working at my desk.
My secret is to keep mixing up the flavors. Here are my 4 favorites:
If I want a little more flavor than Nuun provides, Skratch's Wellness Hydration product has 50 calories, but also a bunch more flavor.
While caffeine is a diuretic, so it is counter-intuitive that this part of my dehydration avoidance strategy. But if you are like me, I'm going to be consuming the caffeine regardless, so may as well take it into account.
I'm regularly starting each morning (alongside coffee or tea) with 32 oz (2 tablets) of Nuun Vitamins; it comes with my daily dosage of Vitamins. It's a great way to be energized and hydrated during the morning.
In the afternoon, I'm now skipping the coffee or tea and using Nuun Sport + Caffeine between 1 PM to 3 PM to power through the end of the workday and have enough energy to workout at the end of the day.
Hydrating before bed can be tricky. If you drink too much right before bed, you will hurt your deep sleep patterns when you wake up to go to pee. Ideally, curtail your hydration at least 90 minutes before bed.
When you hydrate before bed you will have:
You want to use pre-bed hydration that contains magnesium. The magnesium will calm you and prevent the leg cramping / restless legs that is robbing you of your deep sleep. I was using a magnesium fizzy drink (that made a huge mess every time I mixed it), but now that Nuun released their Nuun Rest product with magnesium, that is my new go-to before bed to avoid dehydration and maximize hydration.
Travel just destroys your hydration levels. This is the most important time to focus on avoiding dehydration, my strategy is:
Since that is LOTS of hydration, going low calorie remains super important. I personally go with the new Nuun Immunity Product. I've used it all winter and tested it on at least 25 flights, I don't know if it works, but I didn't get sick so I'm sticking with it!
Now that you are a dehydration expert, this is where you are really going to thank me (so will your friends). For hangovers, I would go beyond Nuun for more electrolytes and use Skratch's two supercharged hydration products:
I travel to altitude more than most people. I've tried every strategy out there to get acclimated quickly. The winning strategy is to pre-hydrate and then super hydrate when you arrive.
VERY IMPORTANT: it looks like a gel pack; it is not! If you suck on this pack you won't be happy. It is meant to be mixed with at least 16 oz of water (I often use 32 oz). Also, note that this as 1780mg of Sodium. So if your doctor said to avoid salt in your diet, this is not the product for you.
Warnings aside this product is incredible for instant altitude adjustments. It is also terrific for hangovers.
While this article is mostly about daily hydration and avoiding dehydration. Here is a quick overview of how to hydrate during your workout:
If I'm working out for over 60 minutes, then I go with a higher calorie hydration product. The harder your effort, the more calories you want.
Here are my go to choices:
If you have your hydration with you all the time, you will sip it more often.
My favorite bottle at work is the Camelbak Chute Bottle.
When I'm traveling, I don't leave home with my Hydrapak Stash 2.0L, it's huge and collapses down to nothing.