Hydrate for Peak Performance

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

Tips for Eating to Support Recreational Activity


1. Planning ahead

It mightened seem obvious but writing a food and gear list is essential – it was something Sir Edmund Hillary excelled at:

-          make a list for each day of all the meals required and the food you need to take. What cooking gear do you need?

-          how many mouths are you catering for?

-          allow for snacks that are light, nutritious and easily accessible.

2. How to keep food weight and bulk down?

-          use dried alternatives like milk powder, dried fruit and dried soup/veges

-          try freeze dried meals, they have improved greatly since Sir Ed’s day!

-          allow for the heavier (fresh) food to be eaten in Day 1

-          use plastic bags (clear zip lock bags are great) instead of plastic containers

-          take dense (heavy grain) bread to avoid it getting squashed beyond recognition; and  crackers instead of bread for the final days – they don’t go stale and weigh less.         

3. Convenience AND Taste – you don’t need to forgo flavour

-          make your own dehydrated food -  great article in

-          if you haven’t got a dehydrator then try packets of instant pasta, noodles, soup/sauces, instant puddings

-          bulk out the instant meals with some ‘light in weight’ fresh vegetables - such as mushrooms, courgettes, capsicum

-          we take fresh meat (like lamb steaks) for the first night then dried meals thereafter.

You need extra energy and fluid compared to a ‘normal’ day to support you for carrying gear, walking long distances over demanding terrain and coping with extremes in weather.


Sample Menu


Breakfast: You can enjoy a large breakfast to provide energy over the day.

Cooked – try refried potatoes (kept cold from the night before) with baked beans and ‘Egg in the hole’ bread (break an egg into a hole in the middle of a slice of heavy grain bread and fry)

OR cereal with dried pineapple and roasted almonds, milk made up from powder. Hot chocolate.


Lunch: Salami or tuna, cheese and cucumber sandwiches, cherry tomatoes are also good value. Take boiled eggs for your first lunch.

TIP: have a packet soup when you get to the hut to restore fluid and electrolytes.


Dinners – Night 1 = fresh food night: Lamb steaks with new potatoes and pre-made Greek salad. Dessert –fruit cake and cheese.

Night 2: Sweet and sour sausages (pre-cooked) – packet sauce (sweet and sour mix) with courgettes and rice. Dessert – rehydrated dried apricots with custard

Snacks: Have each person choose their own and carry them. Try – homemade scroggin, crackers and cheese, muesli/cereal bars

Fluids:  Water. Try it with dash of juice and pinch of salt helps with energy and electrolyte replacement when you are tramping for the whole day. Make your water easy to access and have a drink at each rest stop.

Many experienced outdoor adventurers have their favourite recipes/meals so ‘pick their brains’ for more good ideas.

Coeliac Awareness Week is 15-21 May

Many articles in the media indicate that It is a healthy choice to eat a gluten a free diet to improve health. However for people with coeliac disease it is essential, life changing  and the only treatment available.

What is coeliac disease and what are the symptoms?

Coeliac disease is a permanent intestinal intolerance to dietary gluten, a protein found in some plants. It induces an autoimmune reaction in the lining of the small bowel which causes villous atrophy (flattening of the mucosa). Everyone is different, common symptoms can include stomach and joint pain, tiredness, vomiting or diarrhoea.

What is so difficult about eating out with coeliac disease?

The main issue is cross-contamination. This can happen when very small amounts have been passed on from serving tongs, fingers or cooking utensils such as BBQs and toasters.

Cathy Khouri at Nutrition Care Ltd sees many people who have been diagnosed with Coeliac disease. The appointment time includes a full nutritional assessment and “A to Z“ advice about how to manage coeliac disease with diet.

Cathy has had patients return for further advice because they have been unwell or have had blood results that reflect the condition was poorly controlled. She recalled a careful review of intake for a young woman in a flatting situation. This revealed flatmates used the same dishcloth for wiping down benches before and after gluten containing and gluten free meals were being prepared, that may have been enough to trigger symptoms.  Cathyalso remembered a case of an older man who had received positive coeliac blood test results despite his best efforts to totally exclude gluten. After careful questioning and some discussion, it became clear that while he was on holiday, although he had chosen gluten free bread for toast, there would have been cross contamination from the hotel toaster.       

Where is gluten found?

·         Wheat and all varieties, such as spelt

·         Rye

  • Barley
  • Oats
  • Derivatives of these products, such as malt


It is important to seek an accurate diagnosis and consult a qualified and experienced Dietitian. For more information see