Updated: Aug 31
You have probably heard your group fitness instructor and/or personal trainer stress the importance of grabbing water during your workout, but did you know hydrating before and after the workout is super important too? More than likely you do! However, throughout this post I will walk you through why it's important and how to make sure you're drinking enough for your body and training plan.
WHY IS WATER SO IMPORTANT?
Water regulates your body temperature and lubricates your joints. It also helps transport nutrients throughout your body; this keeps you energized and healthy. Bottom line: if you're not properly hydrated, your body can't perform at its highest level!
If you have ever experienced dehydration, you know how horrible it makes you feel. Not drinking enough water before a workout can severely harm your body and at the very least leave you dizzy, nauseated, and fatigued. At that point, all you can do is stop exercising immediately and start drinking steady sips of water and some Gatorade or other electrolyte drink. If you have not been hydrating through the day as you should, it may be best to skip the gym and just be ready to go tomorrow.
Sweat is NOT a healthy way to lose weight. Sometimes the concept of sweating to cut a few pounds is used with weightlifters and wrestlers as they prepare for a match and have to be under a certain weight to qualify for their category. However, I don't think this applies to any of you and even if it does, sweating for weight loss should only be followed under the direction of a medical professional. You all know that our gym is mostly "outdoors" with it's garage nature, which means you are exposed to that wonderful Florida heat and humidity. It has been proven that even though you drink water during your workout, you will probably only drink enough to replace 30-70% of the water you will lose in sweat. The rest of that you need to make up for after your workout.
CALCULATING YOUR HYDRATION NEEDS
A great way to determine how much water you need after a workout is based on your weight difference before and after the workout. If you are able, measure your body-weight before your workout and then subtract your body-weight measured post-workout. Then, take that difference (in pounds) and multiply it by 24. The resulting number is the number of ounces you need to drink to replenish the water you lost in sweat. Obviously, this number isn't exact but it should give you a good idea of how much water you will need before your next workout. Another option is purchasing a smart water bottle that will use the information you log into the synced app on your phone to determine how much water you should drink. I'm sure there are many other options out there but these are two that I have used and have helped me hydrate properly over the years. At the very least, women need to drink 2.7 liters of water per day, and men, 3.7 liters.
TAKE HOME MESSAGE
Proper hydration is very important to your training success and to overall body health. Your personal pre and post workout hydration varies on your workout style, body type, and other miscellaneous factors. The goal is to drink enough water during the times you are not training to accommodate the water loss through sweat that occurs during training.