Dehydration and Performance

An individuals peak performance can be affected by numerous different variables. Such as arousal, energy and sleep just to name a few. However one of the most damaging variables to performance is dehydration.

Water makes up more than half your bodyweight. With muscle tissue containing more than 70% water! Water and electrolytes (salts) are responsible for ensuring our muscles and mind are able to fire at 100%.

So when an individual is in a dehydrated state, their performance is bound to suffer! In fact, studies have shown that work performance can drop by up to 30% when there has been a 5% loss in body weight through water loss.

That staggering figure could wreak havoc on your performance, especially if you are a competitive athlete.

A 30% drop in performance could look like your deadlift going from 220kg down to 155kg!

Dehydration and Performance Overview

So as you can see there is a massive connection between Dehydration and Performance, but how do we avoid dehydration?

Staying hydrated isn't difficult, a sedentary individual should aim for around 2 litres of water per day. However once an individual starts to become more active either in cardiovascular exercise or resistance training, they should look to increase their water intake.

To simplify how your hydration protocols should look when exercising, here is a simple breakdown:

  • Ensure you consume at least 1litre of water in the 2hrs prior to exercise.
  • Consume 300ml water every 10-15 minutes during exercise.
  • To Increase hydration consider adding in a hydration supplement.
  • Post-exercise 600ml-1litre within the 1st-hour post-training.

It is important to note that the above exercise protocol is to be used in conjunction with the baseline 2litres per day.

So for a 90-minute exercise session, you are looking at consuming roughly 5-6 litres of water for the day.

Dehydration and Performance Key Reminders

As crucial as water is to not only performance but life as well, it is critical to remember that other elements need to be factored in when increasing water intake.

As we increase our water intake, must also increase our sodium intake to maintain a level of homeostasis within the body. This will ensure that our body is still able to function and send electrical impulses adequately. Failure to do this with a significant influx of water can result in Hyponatremia.

A simple guide for increasing sodium levels is just to multiply it the same way you would for water. For example, an average adult who normally consumes 2000-2500mgs of sodium per day, alongside 2litres of water should aim to keep the same water/sodium ratio. Meaning that if they increased their water intake to 4litres per fay, their sodium would increase accordingly to 4000-5000mg.

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