Nutrition Advice for Athletes from Kim - Hydrate for Peak Performance
It’s that hot and sticky time of the year again. You may be competing in one of the many summer season sporting events or you may be training through the hot season for an event later in the year. Keeping yourself well-hydrated in the hot weather and high humidity is particularly important for your training and competition performance.
How can dehydration impact on my sporting performance?
· Increased heart rate and body temperature, which can make exercise feel harder
· Poor concentration
· Reduced skills
· Early fatigue
· Delayed recovery
How do I know if I’m dehydrated?
3 key indicators of dehydration:
1. Thirst – is a sign you are dehydrated
2. Urine colour – your urine should be clear or pale yellow in colour. Dark coloured urine is a sign of dehydration
3. Morning body weight – if this is significantly lower than usual, it is another sign of dehydration.
Do you have 2 or more of these indicators? If so, it is likely that you are dehydrated.
How do I know how much to drink?
Fluid needs vary from person to person. A simple way to assess your fluid losses is to:
1. Weigh yourself, in minimal clothing, before your training session or event.
2. Weigh yourself again after the session. Ensure you wear minimal clothing and dry off any sweat with a towel first.
3. The weight you have lost reflects your total fluid loss. E.g. 1 kg weight loss = 1L fluid lost
4. Aim to replace 1.5 times the fluid you have lost over the next 3-6 hours. E.g. 1L lost, means you need to drink 1.5L over the next 3-6 hours.
What are the best types of fluid to drink?
· For sessions less than 1 hour and low in intensity, water is sufficient.
· For events over 1 hour and/or high in intensity, sports drinks are beneficial as they provide additional carbohydrate and electrolytes (e.g. sodium) for recovery.
· An ideal recovery drink after intense exercise is milk (plain or flavoured) as it provides fluid, carbohydrate, protein and electrolytes.
How can I prevent dehydration?
· Drink a large glass of fluid when you wake up and with all main meals
· Sip on water during the day and during training sessions
· Start training sessions and events well hydrated