Fluid Intake and Electrolytes
At every race or athletic event you'll probably see all the athletes with either water, Pedialyte, Gatorade, or some water-bottle filled with vitamins and minerals from the current hottest supplement company. What's the point exactly? And what is the amount of fluid I should be consuming normally or around competition? Hopefully, I can give you some answers here!
Water is the largest component of the body equating to 45%-75% of a person's body weight acting as a lubricant, shock absorber, building material, regulating body temperature, nutrient transport and waste removal, regulating blood pressure, and maintaining balance overall. Given it's job description, it's easy to see why hydration is important, especially for athletes that sweat and lose water and other minerals. If inadequately hydrated, a person could have increased core body temperature, increased heart rate, and reduced plasma volume and therefore a reduction in blood pressure.
Normal Daily Fluid Intake
The Adequate Intake (AI) is 3.7L (15.6C) for Men and 2.7L(11.4C) for Women. These numbers consider ALL fluids (coffee, tea, water found in foods, soda, etc), however it is important to understand that WATER is king and should never be substituted.
As with any activity involved with sweating, important electrolytes and water that help our cells function are lost in order to regulate body temperature. Electrolytes are sodium chloride, potassium, magnesium, and calcium. They help protect our bodies against hyponatremia (excessive hydration with no sodium supplementation) which leads to headaches, nausea, muscle cramping, swollen feet and hands, restlessness, and disorientation. To prevent this from occuring, fluid intake should not exceed sweat loss and consumption of sodium (via sports drinks or food) is highly encouraged.
Sources of Electrolytes
Ultimately, food is the BEST option to provide adequate amounts of nutrients especially for sweat potassium losses. Potassium rich foods include tomatoes, citrus fruits, melons, bananas, and my favorite: POTATOES!! Sports drinks provide small amounts, but Pedialyte (diluted in water) seems to be the most adequate based on its nutritional content for athletes.
Other GREAT sources of electrolyte replenishment:
- Ryno Power Hydration Fuel - powder that you mix into water (keep in mind the dosages recommended above)
- Ryno Power Electrolytes - capsules that you can take before, during, or after the event
Haff,G. Gregory, Triplett, N. Travis. (2016) Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning. Champagne, Illinois: Human Kinetics