BIG Nutrition: Hydration—Yes, it may be time to bring out your birthday suit!


BIG Nutrition: Hydration—Yes, it may be time to bring out your birthday suit!

Summer Iron & Grit challenge, days at the beach…making sure your fluid intake is sufficient can be tough when summer arrives. Starting each day off and ensuring pre- and post-WOD hydration can be challenging. But at BIG, this is a group up for doing what it takes! Staying hydrated is more than nice, it is necessary for proper muscle function. Even mild dehydration is associated with reduced athletic performance.

So, how much water do you need?

This example is for a person weighing 160 lbs.

  • Throughout a day: At a minimum, drink half of body weight in ounces of water or approximately 80 ounces of water per day. However, this is only a general guide and may not be sufficient for every person’s particular needs. Heat and sweat loss can lead to more fluid needs.
  • Before a WOD: Consume 10-20 ounces (320-640 mL) in the 2-4 hours before the workout; this is sufficient for most people.
  • After a WOD: Consume water, as needed, so that urine is pale yellow. Weigh before and after exercise (naked please) for a more accurate estimate of fluid loss. Consume 42-50 ounces (1.25-1.5 L) for every 2 lbs (1 kg) of body weight lost.

Food provides about 20% of your fluid each day, so occasions when you don’t have many fruits and vegetables (eg, pizza night), drink more water and get back to eating fruits and vegetables! In certain circumstances, exercise > 60 minutes or multiple WODs (in-house throw down July 28 at 2 pm, be there!), fluid with a small amount of salt (1/4 tsp. in 32 oz. water) may rehydrate better than plain water.

Which electrolytes are you losing?

The primary electrolytes lost in sweat are sodium and chloride, and to a lesser extent, potassium, magnesium, and calcium. These are available through a snack or meal after a WOD. Make sure there is salt in the food, only ~ 100 mg or more in one serving of a packaged food or 1/4th tsp. of added salt, is needed. Some foods have naturally occurring sodium—two large stalks of celery OR two large carrots (100 mg), 8 oz. of milk (110 mg) OR 5 oz. Greek yogurt (60 mg), an egg (60 mg), 1 tbsp. hummus (60 mg)—just to name a few.

Recipe please?

Not a fan of plain water? Here are some ideas for flavoring water; just remember to eat a snack or meal within 1-2 hours of your workout. If you do opt for a sport drink, but want something a bit easier on the wallet or less artificial, try these recipes for homemade versions.

Happy and healthful eating,

Donna G. Pertel, MEd, RD, LDN