The Muscle Life: Sweat & Testosterone. Sports Medicine Physician Curated.

Stay Hydrated!

All About Staying Hydrated
Inadequate hydration is the most likely factor preventing anyone from performing their best during competition, fortunately it can be readily addressed. Adequate hydration is crucial to the body’s natural processes. Water loss as little as 2% of your body weight can start to increase your core body temperature and increase the possibility of heat related illnesses including heat stroke. It is paramount to ensure that you are adequately hydrated during extended exertion and competitive events. Here is a guideline to ensure dehydration doesn’t happen to you.

Drinking fluids before, during and after exercise. It is a good idea to ensure you are well-hydrated starting days before your competition. It will ensure your body has had ample opportunity to rebuild and recover from previous workouts and be optimally able to handle coming competitions. During exercise, it’s a good rule of thumb to drink at least the same amount you’ve lost mostly during sweat, but also through urine and breathing.

The general rule has been to drink at least 8 x (8 oz) glasses per day, which is just shy of 2 Liters and men should take up to 12 glasses per day. However, if you are exercising or competing, your fluid requirements will be even higher.  In addition to your base needs, drink at least 16 oz of fluids for every pound of weight lost during exercise. It’s a good idea to weigh yourself before and after competition to get an idea of how much water your body has lost. Remember, if you will be competing for longer than 1 hour, taking in carbohydrates in your fluids, such as with sports drinks, will help you perform optimally.

Warnings sings that you may be dehydrated.Any symptoms of hotheadedness, headache, unable to catch your breath, weakness or fatigue may be signs of dehydration. Thirst may be a late sign of dehydration and means you have already lost a significant amount of water. Other serious symptoms include visual changes, confusion or muscle spasms. Drink fluids immediately and seek appropriate medical attention. During a competition it is not appropriate to push through any of these symptoms, as your chances of falling ill are significantly increased.

Know your fitness level.It is also important to note that if you are not an acclimated athlete there is an increased risk of dehydration and electrolyte imbalance as the body is not conditioned to tightly regulate itself during extended exertional states. If you are not a currently conditioned athlete, you should be more cautious to the possibility of suffering from dehydration or other exertional or heat illnesses. The disproportionate number of those who fall ill during mass events are recreational competitors or those who have not trained appropriately. Do not hesitate to seek medical attention if you think you may need it.

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