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Sweating like a pig? That’s nothing: Humans sweat more than any other mammal, causing us to lose the water and electrolytes crucial for optimal performance. Why are electrolytes so important? These minerals, found in your blood and other body fluids, regulate your hydration, blood PH, and critical muscle and nerve functions.
You can stay on top of your game by drinking the right liquids at the right time.
Before your workout: Start drinking water at least 15 minutes prior to any activity.
During: Try to down 250mls of water for every 20 minutes you exercise.
After: Weigh yourself before and after a workout, and subtract the weight of any water you drank while exercising. For every 450 grams you’ve lost during a workout, drink 450mls of water. Then remember that guideline for your next workout. So if you’re 900 grams lighter after an hour-long run, drink 900mls more before or during your next run.
Are You Sweating Too Much?
If the difference between your before and after body weights is 2 percent, your athletic performance suffered. More than 2 percent means there could be potential health risks, including elevated heart rate and body temperature.
Hit the Bathroom
An easy way to see if you’re drinking enough is to use the urine test. The clearer, the better. If your pee looks more like iced tea than lemonade, you’re dehydrated.
What to Drink
Water’s best for most workouts, but if you’re really sweating—working out for longer than 30 minutes, usually—a sports drink may be your best bet. These drinks offer potassium, sodium, and other electrolytes to replenish the minerals lost through sweat. And the carbohydrate concentration in sports drinks allows them to be absorbed by the body up to 30 percent faster than water, meaning your energy is restored quicker than with plain H2O.
Whatever you drink, take it cold and in frequent, small amounts. This proven strategy guarantees your fluids will be absorbed in less time—leaving you energized and well hydrated.