Our whole lives, we are told to “stay hydrated”. Whether as a child running around on the soccer field or as an adult working out at the gym, drinking enough water is always a high priority when it comes to staying fit and healthy. Well, as it turns out, there is a science to staying properly hydrated.
A big part of staying hydrated, not so surprisingly, correlates with how much you sweat. By monitoring sweat rate, you can ensure that you are taking in enough water (not too much, not too little) before an exercise. To do this, weigh yourself and your workout beverage pre-exercise and do the same post-exercise. This gives you an estimate of how much fluid you lose through sweat during your workout. Your goal should be to drink the fluid that you lost during the workout.
Here is an example of how to calculate your sweat rate:
- Workout Duration: 25 minutes
- Body Weight Change: + 0.2 lbs.
- Fluid Consumed: 260 mL
- % Dehydration: 0.15%
- Estimated Sweat Rate: 0.4 L/hr.
And from these results, we would suggest…
- Aim to begin all workouts in a hydrated state.
- Practice a fluid replacement plan during workouts based on your sweat rate. Based on the data above, that’s about 14 ounces per hour. But it may be more or less as intensity and/or environment vary.
- Aim to replace both fluid and electrolytes (sodium) lost through sweat.
- Ensure rehydration after a workout with about 20 to 24 ounces of fluid (including sodium) per pound lost.
Judging the color of your urine is a more visual way of maintaining proper hydration. Specialists recommend a light yellow “lemonade” color. Clear urine implies that you may be over hydrated. Rather than drinking as much fluid as you possibly can, begin readjusting your hydration strategy to drink just the right amount of fluid you need and you will be on track to having healthier and more successful workouts.