You Know You’re Dehydrated When…

I know that dehydration isn’t at the top of your list for most interesting subjects to do a blog post on but being properly hydrated can literally “make or break” your training.

In most adults the percentage water makes up our body is around 60% and while we can live for weeks without food, we can only live a few days or so without water (depending on the environment).

And as training “athletes” we will naturally raise or body temperatures and sweat to cool ourselves down.  When this happens dehydration sets in a lot faster than normal.

Researchers have found that even a 2% loss in bodyweight from dehydration can hinder performance by 10-20%.

And if you’re a guy who sweats like Lawrence Taylor in church then you’re going to become dehydrated a lot faster than the person next to you.

Water retention is another reason why I’m not a fan of people weighing themselves all the time on the scale.  Simply because our body weight can fluctuate up to four pounds a day just on how much water you’re holding in.

So the next time you feel like partying to some Lady GaGa songs after the scale says you lost 2 pounds. Be aware that it could just be water weight.  Instead focus on body fat and girth circumferences to gauge your results.

Another big key to take note of is that you’ll also want to focus on having sufficient levels of electrolytes while you’re training.  Sodium is the only one that will really make a difference and it will help with your water absorption.

So I do recommend using some kind of sports drink if you’re training hard since drinking just water will cause bloating and more peeing (…then you’ll have to drink more and the cycle continues!).

But just watch out for our old pal Gatorade who still likes to use high fructose corn syrup in a lot of their products.

There are a lot of signs to look out for when you’re dehydrated a few being; your mouth is dry and your tongue is swollen, your thirsty (duh!), constipation, your skin doesn’t snap back on a skin turgor test, your muscles are cramping and/or spasming, you feel lightheaded/dizzy when you stand up too fast, and if you’re body is overheating.

I know hydration is something that I’m always looking to improve and it’s something that I really struggle with.  Every morning a drink a full glass of cool water to start my day off right.

OK, so here are a couple simple tips to make sure you get the right amount of water daily.

1.  You’re Pee Is Clear.

Sounds funny and downright obvious.  But it works.  Check your pee every time you go #1 to make sure it’s clear enough to drink (but don’t drink it!)  If it’s looking like the color of apple juice then you better start drinking some water fast.  I’ve heard stories about coaches who have literally checked their athletes pee to make sure they were hydrated.

2.  Drink Half Your Body Weight In Fluid Ounces Daily.

This is another golden rule to follow.  So if you weigh 200 pounds then you’ll want to drink AT LEAST 100 fluid ounces of water daily.  And this will increase if you’re working out, drinking alcohol and/or caffeine.  A simple way to follow this is to get a bottle water, see how much water it holds and do the math to find out how many of them you have to drink in a day.

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2 Comments


  1. idris

    June 2, 2010 at 6:21 am

    does drinking redbull help?

    Reply

    • Josh Schlottman

      June 10, 2010 at 1:01 pm

      No, in fact it’ll will probably make it worse.

      Reply

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About Josh

josh-and-dog

Hi, I’m Josh and my life mission is to help 100,000 people achieve their goals in health and fitness.  I’m a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) with a degree in Nutrition, and over 10 years experience personal training. I’m looking forward to giving all I can to help you reach your goals.