It appears that there is a lot of confusion when it comes to determining the right ways to maintain hydration. Some of the most frequently asked questions I get from athletes in my sports nutrition coaching are questions about hydration:
How much water do we need to drink? Are eight glasses of water enough for optimal hydration? Do we need to replenish electrolytes?
Proper hydration is paramount as it keeps our blood volume in the right consistency. Maintaining proper blood volume ensures our red blood cells deliver oxygen to our muscles efficiently, deliver nutrients throughout the body and remove waste products such as carbon dioxide. This clearly shows that maintaining hydration is crucial but what is more important is how we keep ourselves hydrated.
In my opinion, the old wisdom to drink eight glasses of water goes a little overboard as the water quantity we should be drinking depends on many lifestyle factors such as our activity levels, the climate we live in, our diet as well as some other factors. When we sweat during a workout, our body loses not only water but also electrolytes such as potassium, sodium, magnesium and iodine. Since electrolytes help our body retain fluids and prevent muscle cramping, it is important that we replace them especially when we are engaging in a fitness activity projected to last 90 minutes or longer.
Now the question is how do we replenish the lost electrolytes? Sports drinks are one of the biggest commercial successes in the sport-nutrition industry and have become a fixture on the athletic scene. The idea of a sport drink is an excellent one as it is designed to provide electrolytes to athletes in an easily consumable form. Unfortunately, majority commercial brands are loaded with refined sugar, artificial colors and flavors, none of which equate to excellent athletic functionality. A more basic yet much healthier version is coconut water. Packed with electrolytes, coconut water has been used for decades in tropical regions to keep the body properly hydrated. Even better option is to make your own sports drink, and if you are so inclined here is a quick and easy recipe:
Put The Lime In The Coconut
Juice of 1 organic lime
2 cups pure coconut water (or you can use spring water)
2 Medjool dates
1 tbsp wild-harvested honey (I use Manuka honey due to its’ antibacterial + antiviral + anti inflammatory properties)
1/2 tsp dulse flakes
Pinch of sea salt
1 tbsp virgin, expeller-pressed coconut oil
Combine all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. Pour into your reusable water bottle and go ahead and hydrate your gorgeous body!
*** I was inspired to write this post to address some of the most common questions I get from my runners from DeNovo Coaching, and hope this brings more clarity when it comes to proper ways to maintain hydration levels.
To all my followers who live in the North NJ area and are passionate about running but feel that you lack motivation or are simply looking for ways to improve your current performance, DeNovo Coaching welcomes you to take Your New Steps To Better Running. Find out more details here: http://www.denovocoaching.com/index.html