By: Peter Schmitt
Canadian Henley might be in the books and many of us are taking a well deserved break before the start of the fall racing season but the summer heat is still here in Boston. And with the higher temperatures and UV indexes, comes a greater need to pay attention to our nutrition and hydration so that we can keep enjoying summer to its fullest.
One thing that goes without saying is the importance of hydration. The main rule of thumb that I try to adhere to is drinking between 0.5 and 1 ounce of water per pound of body weight. So for example, a 160 pound person should drink between 80 and 160 ounces of water. This isn’t to say that all of this has to come from water alone. Fruits and vegetables have water in them, as well as quinoa and other grains have water in them so you don’t need to be trying to drink over a gallon of water per day. (you might be spending a considerable amount of time in the bathroom if you do!) One tip for getting hydrated: watermelon is a delicious summer fruit and is 93% water. You can eat watermelon to your heart’s content, get hydrated, and not have to worry about losing your beach body that you worked for on the erg over the winter.
For those of us that still have races to compete in this summer, here are a few statistics to think about just in case you were on the fence about how important hydration is. Performance can be negatively impacted by as little as 2 to 3% body weight loss from sweat (e.g. 3-4 lb. for 150 lb. athlete) Additionally, dehydration can cause a decrease in the volume of blood being circulated in your body leading to your muscles not getting enough oxygen to perform to their true potential and exhaustion setting in earlier in a race. On top of that, your body is not able to flush lactic acid as effectively after a workout, leading to a longer recovery time between workouts. A general rule of thumb for how much water to drink before, during, and after a workout is 16 ounces or more 2-3 hours before a workout, 8 ounces 15 minutes before, drinking fluids as necessary during a workout, and consuming 16-24 ounces after a workout for every pound of fluid lost.
If you’re someone who sweats a lot, or even if you’re not, its a good idea to weigh yourself before and after workouts to see how much you sweat out so you can adequately rehydrate. Additionally, you may want to consider adding a supplement to your water bottle for consumption during a training session. Nuun and GU make hydration tablets that are easy to carry and add a tablet to your water before you launch, plus they come in all different flavor options so you can find one that you like best.
Take a look at the links below for more information on the benefits of staying hydrated and other tips as well. And if you have any questions or want a few more tips, you can come find me at the boathouse, chances are I’ll be there.