What’s the point of drinking that much water anyway? Can we get water from other things, like vegetables or other drinks? What are electrolytes? How can I tell if I’m dehydrated?
Your body is 70% water. Each cell and bodily function depends on your continual consumption of water. If you are dehydrated your body is not able to perform!
How do I know if I’m dehydrated?
If you’re thirsty that means you already are dehydrated. Another way to monitor how hydrated you are is to look at the color of your urine. The gold standard it turns out isn’t gold at all but rather clear or very light yellow. If it’s darker than that it tells you that you need to drink more water!
Now what are these electrolyte things and why is everyone so crazy about them?
Electrolytes are charged molecules that we need in our bodies to keep everything working properly. They are salt and other minerals that we lose through sweat and general living. Being electrolyte deficient can have an impact on your performance and can even cause cramping. For a lot of us it’s not generally something to worry about, but with this hot weather it is important to make sure you are doing everything to keep your body healthy and happy.
Ok, then where do you get these electrolytes from?
You do not need to go out and stock up on Gatorade. While this drink is one way to replenish electrolytes, it also has a lot of sugar and most of us don’t actually need all that. The general rule of thumb is if your workout is less than an hour, pass on the Gatorade and make sure you are drinking water during and after, (If you are working out for more than one hour, you might want to consider a little bit of Gatorade during the workout. Remember that everyone is different so it’s ideal to stay in tune with your body and figure out what it needs to perform.
Where else can I get electrolytes from?
Many people can get everything they need from a good post workout snack. Here are some great places to start and you can be creative with your own ideas!
- Glass of chocolate milk
- Apples and peanut butter
- Yogurt and granola
- Salad with leafy greens and tomatoes
Check out Post-Workout Snacks for more snack ideas and this Ask the Coaches response for more nutrition advice.