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Hydration for Performance

Hi all!

Let’s talk about water! As many of you know I drink A LOT and I also advocate that you do to. Starting at a minimum of 3 liters (or 96oz) per day as my recommendation. But why?

Water has many benefits which we will get in to shortly, but some facts for you first. The Journal of Biological Chemistry states that the brain and heart are composed of 73% water, the lungs are approximately 83% water. Our skin is comprised of 64% water, muscles and kidneys are at 79% and our bones contain around 31%.

Water itself serves a purpose for many essential functions such as;

  • A vital nutrient to the life of every cell, acts first as a building material.

  • It regulates our internal body temperature by sweating and respiration

  • The carbohydrates and proteins that our bodies use as food are metabolized and transported by water in the bloodstream;

  • It assists in flushing waste mainly through urination

  • Acts as a shock absorber for brain, spinal cord, and fetus

  • Forms saliva

  • Lubricates joints

In addition to to the essential functions, water is also important for sport performance. It has generally been considered that decreases in performance become apparent when hypohydration (low hydration) is greater than 2% of body weight; performance will decline substantially when fluid losses exceed 5% of body weight; and that when fluid losses approach 6-10% of body weight, heat stroke and heat exhaustion become life-threatening.

Now that we are starting to get closer to the summer, it is important that you all drink plenty of water in order to train optimally on your own and with me!

So what does this look like?

It is important for people to begin exercise euhydrated (normal level of hydration) and with normal electrolyte levels. Good hydration practices during the day, focusing on the consumption of fluids and high water content foods such as fruits and vegetables, should be the main goal.

Before training

At least 4 hours prior to your training session, aim to drink approximately 5 to 7ml of fluid per kilogram of body weight. Additionally, adding in some sodium rich foods can help increase thirst and contribute to some water retention in order to maintain an more hydrated state for training. (1)

During Training

Drinking water during exercise is to help prevent excessive dehydration and also changes in electrolyte balance. We all respond to this differently, so it is difficult to determine how much water an individual will require in order maintain homeostasis. Sawka et al. 2007; Jeukendrup, Jentjens, and Moseley 2005 recommend 3 to 8 ounces (90 to 240 ml) of a 6% to 8% carbohydrate–electrolyte beverage every 10 to 20 minutes during exercise lasting longer than 60 to 90 minutes.(2)

After training

After you’ve finished your workout, aim to replenish your fluid and electrolyte deficit by consuming approximately 150% of weight lost during the session. This will help to regain normal hydration within approximately 6 hours after your training session.(3) To give you an idea of how this looks, it is approximately 20 to 24oz (600 to 720ml) of fluids for every pound of body weight lost during your training session. For optimal rehydration, consider drinking water with foods containing sodium and chloride.(4)



  1. Sawka MN, Cheuvront SN, Kenefick RW. Hypohydration and Human Performance: Impact of Environment and Physiological Mechanisms. Sports Med. 2015;45 Suppl 1(Suppl 1):S51-S60. doi:10.1007/s40279-015-0395-7

  2. Jeukendrup AE, Jentjens RL, Moseley L. Nutritional considerations in triathlon. Sports Med. 2005;35(2):163-81. doi: 10.2165/00007256-200535020-00005. PMID: 15707379.

  3. Maughan RJ, Shirreffs SM. Dehydration and rehydration in competative sport. Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2010 Oct;20 Suppl 3:40-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0838.2010.01207.x. PMID: 21029189.

  4. Dunford, M., & American Dietetic Association. Sports, Cardiovascular, Wellness Nutritionists Dietetic Practice Group. (2006). Sports nutrition : a practice manual for professionals (4th ed.). American Dietetic Association.

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