18 Mar 2003
Water is a crucial element both in training and recovery.
It “lubricates” your muscular fibers and joints and maintains a proper body temperature.
Water is also a very good “hunger-killer” and helps reduce lipid deposits with its lubricating action: it is the water that splits up the nutrients inside our body, passing them through the cell membranes and delivering nutrients to every part of our body.
Interestingly noted, under effort, losing about 2% of your body weight in water is equivalent to a 6% decrease in your performance.
A loss of about 9-12% may be extremely dangerous.
It is considerably important for athletes that compete or train every day to plan a quick and utter rehydration strategy: this can be obtained only by taking a proper quantity of water and sodium chloride.
Try to take “water-breaks” instead of the usual “coffee-breaks.”
Sodium is necessary in order to maintain an ideal plasmatic volume before, during and after a training session or a race.
If you drink only plain water, the urine flow increases, thus hindering your rehydration process.
Check your weight right before and after training sessions (or races) in order to evaluate your hydration level and to know the quantity of fluid you need to resupplement your body with. Generally, you should take in 1.5 of the body weight loss of fluids.
The sodium quantity inside the fluids taken after the effort during resupplementaion may be more important than during the effort. It’s definitely a good idea to add 0.5/1.0 g of sodium to every litre of water: that means you can add 1-2 g of sodium chloride (common cooking salt) per litre.
You can’t properly restore a hydration balance due to the loss of urinary water. In fact, caffeine and alcohol, with their diuretic effect, are no good for proper hydration.
Drink 500 ml of fluids 2 hours prior to doing the training session/race and give your body the necessary time to absorb the water and release the excess fluids.
If the temperature on the day of the training session/race is high, make sure you add 2-3 g of sodium chloride per litre of water.
In fact, if you are acclimatized to the temperature outside, every litre of your body’s sweat holds 0.7-2.0 g of sodium and 0.5-1.7 g of chlorine.
The sweat holds other minor quantities of potassium, magnesium, calcium and iron too. During summers, we recommend that you include these minerals in your supplementation/nutrition program.
Try doses of ipo-isotonic solutions with 4-8% of carbohydrates: 200-250 ml per dose, every 15-30 minutes.
Since glucose is actively absorbed in the intestine, it can increase and enhance the absorption of both sodium and water. The ideal glucose concentration in fluids is about 3-6%. Maltodextrines are good too.
Be sure to have correct hydration during meals: fluids will be easily absorbed. A clear and copious urine points out proper hydration.
The exposure to low temperatures increases the urine flow (especially when drinking caffeine too). The ideal fluid temperature in a cold environment is about 25-30° C; in warm and hot environments, it should be around 15-20° C.