7 Takeaways From Our Sports Hydration Webinar

Health

For our recent webinar, we brought together three fitness professionals to talk all about sports hydration.

Our lively expert panel welcomed Alex Hipwell (Nike Master Trainer), Adelle Tracey (professional 800m athlete), and Julia-Sarah Hennig (nutrition expert and fitness trainer at BEAT81), followed by a live Q&A session in which they shared their own tips, tricks, and do’s and don’ts. In short: there’s more to know than just remembering to drink water before your workout.

In case you missed it, here are seven takeaways:

1. You should work out after you drink alcohol.

“Alcohol for sure stresses your whole body out,” says fitness and nutrition expert Julia, who emphasizes the need to drink more as a result, adding that we “need to refuel on minerals, vitamins”. 

Ironically, drinking alcohol is even more reason to hit the gym:

“Showing up for your workout is the first great thing because you sweat all the crap out. Just make sure you stay hydrated. It’s unlikely you store more than 800 milliliters per hour anyway [so] make sure you constantly hydrate [afterwards]”. 

2. The more you sweat, the fitter you are.

“The reason why you sweat more when you’re fitter,” says professional athlete Adelle, “is because your body is more efficient at regulating your body temperature.”

“I sweat loads,” she says. “It’s a good thing, but just means you have to be really on it with hydration before you start exercising”. 

“A trained athlete,” adds Julia, “in a summer environment,  would maybe sweat around 2.5 liters per hour. An untrained person is more likely to lose around one liter per hour”.

“As soon as we start sweating we also lose minerals,” explains Julia, “we mainly lose potassium, sodium, and magnesium. Also iron!” 

3. If you’re thirsty, it’s too late.

German World Bodybuilding Champion Alex says: “If I have to compete, I make sure I’m hydrated not two hours before but days before. I always feel if I’m thirsty, it’s too late.”

“On average we start feeling thirsty once we’ve lost 1.5 liters of water,” adds Julia.

“I’m 70 kilos,” says Alex, “so I’m going to be sweating more than the average person, therefore I do need to be more aware of drinking. The problem is actually outside of the gym, people tend to drink throughout their training but then how do you keep that consistency throughout the rest of the day?”

“[When you should drink] is a preference but when it comes to strength training you need to be drinking during, pre and post. When it comes to endurance, you need to know your body. You don’t want to have this full stomach and you shouldn’t need to really drink throughout.”
– Alex Hipwell

4. The minerals you lose through sweating can cause muscle cramps during your workout.

“As soon as we start sweating we also lose minerals,” explains Julia, “we mainly lose potassium, sodium, and magnesium. Also iron!” 

She clarifies that we need to replace those lost minerals quickly: 

“The human body has 50 to 60 percent just water and as soon as we lose just two percent of this water, we see a significant decrease in performance, especially when it comes to endurance. If we lose four percent, we already get cramps and serious muscle issues. Coming to six percent, it already starts to get dangerous for health. Don’t wait two hours until you drink, just drink immediately.”

5. There is a right way to hydrate for yoga.

“There are many different perspectives, but with the Ashtanga yoga method, we would say try to not drink one hour before the yoga session,” says Julia. “Try not to drink during the yoga session [as] it’s low intensity in terms of cardio and muscle strength. In yoga, it’s really crucial that you really engage the core muscles to protect the back.”

She adds: “If you want to work with bandhas, it’s quite hard if you have a lot of water in your stomach to apply the bandhas. So I would stop drinking one hour before and drink after again. That is quite special for yoga.”

6. For females, how much water your body can take in depends on your menstrual cycle.

Adelle notes the difference according to the stages of her cycle:

“For the luteal phase, which is the second half of your menstrual cycle when estrogen isn’t as high and progesterone is higher, it’s a really crucial phase for becoming more dehydrated than it would be. When you have estrogen, it’s an anti-diuretic, so it’s really important that I’m thinking about drinking a little bit more and taking on more electrolytes.”

“When you have estrogen, it’s an anti-diuretic, so it’s really important that I’m thinking about drinking a little bit more and taking on more electrolytes.”
– Adelle Tracey

7. Sometimes all you need is juice, mineral water, and salt.

“I think we talk about sports drinks quite freely,” says Alex, but notes that “for the average day-to-day athlete, do take some time to research your sports drink.”

“When you have a look at the ingredients on the back, you count to 13 to 14 ingredients, just be aware that you don’t need that. Half juice, half water with a pinch of salt – sometimes that’s all you need.”

“I would recommend mixing juice with mineral water. Then your body can use that immediately and you can keep your storage for later.”
– Julia-Sarah Hennig

Adelle adds: “When I’m competing, I keep it pretty simple, most days I just do your juice and salt combination: I’m definitely a sodium sweater, you can feel it on your skin afterwards. You feel a little bit like you’ve got salt on your skin.”

“On race day”, she prefers going for less bubbly water: “just a bit lighter, non-effervescent. I wouldn’t go for anything that’s got any gas in it. Hypotonic rather than isotonic, so less sugary because that impacts how you feel.”

For Julia: “I would recommend mixing juice with mineral water. Then your body can use that immediately and you can keep your storage for later. And it’s also part of keeping the osmotic value of a drink. So if you have a mineral drink, it would always take a bit of carbs.” 

For the full replay, watch the video below:

By James — Nov 20, 2020
The information contained in this article is provided for educational and informational purposes only, and should not be construed as health or nutritional advice.

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