By Allie Burdick, FITBIE.com (TNS)
Did you have enough to drink during your workout today? It’s a simple question but, most of us either don’t know the answer, or have the wrong one.
“Part of the problem is that there are so many variables,” said Keri Gans, MS, RD, and author of The Small Change Diet. “If you’re doing regular, steady state exercise for under and hour, all you need is water, but a hard effort outside in the heat or in a heated room for over an hour, and you need a sports drink.”
The most important rule, Gans said, is to “listen to your body and use common sense.” The recommended guidelines for fitness hydration call for, “around 16 to 24 ounces over two hours before you exercise then, another two cups 15 minutes prior to a hot outdoor sweat session, and then every 20 minutes during the actual activity.”
However, that could be difficult depending on the activity you’re doing to work out.
“Think about it,” Gans said. “If you’re doing stand-up paddleboarding, you’re not going to be able to drink during that activity and there are definitely no bathrooms out there.” Her best suggestion? Let the temperature and how you feel be your guide.
Follow these steps to help stay hydrated throughout your summer training and beyond:
Step One: Just drink it
This is the golden rule, according to Gans. Don’t worry so much about the amount or kind of hydration you should be getting _ just drink water. If you think about drinking some extra fluids (non-alcoholic and non-caffeinated as those will dehydrate you) the night before your run or fitness class, that’s the perfect time to start. Then, when you wakeup, drink another 16 to 24 ounces especially in the hours leading up to vigorous activity. If you can’t drink during the actual activity, be prepared with water for immediately afterward.
The goal is regular hydration though out the day and, adding a sports drink or something with additional sodium, if you’re exercising in the heat for over an hour.
Step Two: Choose wisely
Obviously not all beverages are created equal and, if you’re watching your weight, anything besides water can add up to unwanted pounds. If you’re exercising in the heat for over an hour your body needs the sodium that a sports drink like Gatorade will provide. Coconut and other fruit or plant based waters like Cactus or even Artichoke waters have more potassium, but also have added calories from sugar.
“Read the labels and know where the sugar is coming from,” Gans said.
For instance, if the sugar in Cactus water comes from prickly pear, that’s a good source. If it’s just ‘added sugar,’ that may not be your best choice. As a general rule, the lower the sugar content the better and, Gans said “at the end of the day you just want to stay hydrated,” but remember, if you’re drinking anything other then plain water you’re not consuming zero calories.
Step Three: Mix It Up
To keep a steady flow of fluids, have some fun with it.
“You can add almost any fruit or herb to water these days to liven it up,” Gans said, who also suggests drinking seltzer with fresh lime or lemon as well as diluting your favorite drinks.
“I love lemonade,” Gans said, “but it’s obviously not the best choice calorie-wise so, I dilute it with water.” Use this hack for all your favorite not-so-healthy thirst quenchers _ one part favorite juice or drink and two parts water — get some of the flavor with a lot less of the calories.
“Don’t forget about milk in all its forms,” Gans said. “Low-fat, almond, and soy all count toward hydration while providing additional nutrients.”
Many runners opt for a cold glass of chocolate milk for post-run fuel because of its protein and carbohydrate content.
(c)2015 Fitbie.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
Photo: John Revo Puno via Flickr