Back To Basics : Hydration


When trying to become an elite athlete it is essential all aspects are taken into consideration that can potentially give an inch of improvement over your competitors. 

If you are not trying to be an elite athlete or maybe don’t even work out much, hydration is still a key role in your health.

As a coach or fitness professional that the GP (General population) Follows for advice and guidance, it is also essential to have the base and the knowledge and not just blurb out myths or things you read over.



Hydration Myths


  1. Urine Color Is an Accurate Measure of Hydration


“Urine color is a delayed response, (and) when you are exercising, sweating and drinking to replace the fluids … your body is in constant flux, so it’s hard to use it as a really good measure in those cases,”


2. Once You Feel Thirsty, You’re Already Dangerously Dehydrated


Just as many people have lost touch with the feeling of hunger, Fowkes Godek said many people ignore their thirst and, as a result, don’t truly understand what thirst feels like. If you’re someone who always has a bottle of water in hand, the first sensation of thirst is not a danger sign


3. You Need Sports Drinks to Replace Electrolytes


Most sports drinks, such as Gatorade and Powerade, contain small amounts of sodium and carbohydrates. They are designed to be palatable; they are not designed to replace sodium.

“The problem with sports drinks is people think they are putting enough electrolytes back in, and in most cases, they are not putting (in) anywhere near the number of electrolytes they might need,”

“Sports drinks, for the majority of people, don’t even put back half of the sodium they lose in sweat,”


If you’re concerned about sodium loss during exercise, Fowkes Godek advises eating a meal or snack with water when you’re done working out. Doing so will replace sodium without risk of over-hydration


4. Any Level of Dehydration Negatively Affects Performance



The biggest problem with this statement is the word “dehydration,” Fowkes Godek said.

We’ve come to think of dehydration as an illness or a condition, but it’s really a verb.

“It’s a process of losing body fluid—the opposite of rehydration,” Fowkes Godek said.

If you are well hydrated, it’s normal to experience dehydration. The impact of dehydration on athletic performance depends on the hydration level before the exercise or competition. If you start exercising and are well hydrated, you can easily lose 3 to 4 percent of body weight with no ill effects. Even if you start exercising and are at the lower end of hydration, you still have a ways to go before performance suffers.

“If you start an exercise bout and you are very thirsty, you can probably lose about 2 percent and still not see any performance detriment,” Fowkes Godek said.



5. You Can’t Drink too Much Water


“You can drink too much water, and you can drink too much Gatorade, and you can drink too much Pedialyte,” Fowkes Godek said.

If you flood your body with the fluid of any kind, you risk EAH.

Fortunately, it’s easy to avoid EAH:

Drink when you’re thirsty. Don’t when you aren’t



Points extracted from and Hydration expert Sandra Fowkes Godek, Ph.D






        Now, these myths are great to uncover when it comes to the GP and how they do hydration… and it's extremely important to understand that the hydration for your average person that gets a 60 min workout has to be different than the professional or aspiring professional athlete that does higher intensity and higher volume training.



On a research study performed on college division one athletes, it showed that following a prescription hydration plan VS. a normal hydration plan the athletes with a prescribed plan saw improvements in heart rate recovery and performance.





There has been researching testing the hydration habits in high performing habits that show that paying attention to your hydration can play an important role in your performance.




Collegiate athletes who were injury-free and could exercise at ≥ 75% of their maximum heart rate for a minimum of 45 men were recruited for this randomized, cross-over study. After completing a questionnaire assessing hydration habits, participants were randomized either to a prescription hydration plan (PHP), which considered sweat rate and sodium loss or instructed to follow their normal ad libitum hydration habits (NHP) during training. Attention and awareness, as well as lower body anaerobic power (standing long jump), were assessed immediately before and after a moderate to ha ard training session of ≥ 45 min. Heart rate recovery was also measured. After a washout period of 7 days, the PHP group repeated the training bout with their normal hydration routine, while the NHP group were provided with a PHP plan and were assessed as previously described.


Fifteen athletes from three different sports, aged 20 ± 0.85 years, participated in this study. Most participants reported feeling somewhat or very dehydrated after a typical training session. Compared to their NHP, participants following a PHP jumped 4.53 ± 3.80 in. farther, tracked moving objects 0.36 ± 0.60 m/second faster, and exhibited a faster heart rate recovery following a moderate to hard training session of 45–120 min in duration.


A tailored hydration plan, based on an athlete’s fluid and sodium loss has the potential to improve anaerobic power, attention and awareness, and heart rate recovery time.



Full link of the article:



What I personally concluded was that sports drinks don’t have enough sodium on them to actually recover and that a good balance of water, carbohydrates and sodium.


And the way you drink water pre, intra and post workout can actually have an effect on performance.


In order to have a PHP ( Perscription hydration plan), you must test your sweat and how it loses sodium and key factors like weather and type of workout are essential.









What are the benefits of water anyways?




  1. Digestive health : much like a car and motor oil for the engine to run properly and last long. “Water allows your kidneys to function properly and filter everything they need to, and allows us to eliminate effectively and not be constipated,”


  1. Boosts metabolism: Metabolism is considered all the chemical processes that take place in your body, the more and efficient the body works the healthier and “in shape” it is  **all extremes are bad “Water’s involved in every type of cellular process in your body, and when you’re dehydrated, they all run less efficiently -- and that includes your metabolism."


  1. Diet Help: It’s also very difficult for the body to tell the difference between hunger and thirst. So if you’re walking around feeling a gnawing sense of hunger, you might just be under hydrated. Try drinking a glass of water instead of grabbing a snack.








First lets define what “diuretic is” Diuretic comes from the greek word “dia” (through) and “ouron” - (urine) so, through urine and it means the increased passing of urine.


Some of these Diuretics are:” 


 1. Coffee

 2. Alcohol 

 3. Onion

 4. Asparagus 

 5. Garlic 

 6. Pineapple


These foods in excess may lead to dehydration or if you have a poor hydrating protocol and a high ingestion of these foods you may be dehydrated.


heres a quick article from the canadian journal of applied physiology that goes hand in hand with what we talked about recently and the importance of hydration in athletic performance.



Dehydration refers both to hypohydration (dehydration induced prior to exercise) and to exercise-induced dehydration (dehydration that develops during exercise). The latter reduces aerobic endurance performance and results in increased body temperature, heart rate, perceived exertion, and possibly increased reliance on carbohydrate as a fuel source. Although the negative effects of exercise-induced dehydration on exercise performance were clearly demonstrated in the 1940s, athletes continued to believe for years thereafter that fluid intake was not beneficial. More recently, negative effects on performance have been demonstrated with modest (< 2%) dehydration, and these effects are exacerbated when the exercise is performed in a hot environment. The effects of hypohydration may vary, depending on whether it is induced through diuretics or sauna exposure, which substantially reduce plasma volume, or prior exercise, which has much less impact on plasma volume. Hypohydration reduces aerobic endurance, but its effects on muscle strength and endurance are not consistent and require further study.






But, regular amounts of caffeine don usually lead to dehydration. As we mentioned before the excess of anything ( including water ) is bad. Plus having diuretics flush out your body can be healthy.




Hydration protocols can vary between people and how much they sweat, as all bodies are built differently- some bodies have more sweat glands than others therefore they need a different hydration protocol.


In this link, you can find how to measure sweat rate.



Sweat played an important part in keeping our body temperature down, so if we are not properly hydrated for sweating then how can we keep our body temperature down?



In conclusion, testing how much sweat you lose on average in a workout and  how much sodium you lose in your sweat can help you put a strategy in place when it comes to hydration… how much you drink based on how much to lose and properly adding carbohydrates and sodium in the mix as needed as well. 


For the long term, taking a prescription hydration plan can have an impact on your performance.