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Low-Down on Water: How it Affects Your Workout and Performance

By: Jason Yun

Approximately 70% of your body is made up of water. So proper hydration is critical. A good rule of thumb is for every 15 pounds of bodyweight you should be drinking 1 cup of water. 1 cup = 8 oz. But this will vary depending on your activity level, size, and temperature. If you are not near this level of fluid, move up slowly, otherwise expect frequent trips to the bathroom. The color of your urine throughout the day should be a pale yellow or white, any darker start drinking more. Without water you will die within days, can’t say that about vitamin C or protein, can you?

As a fitness buff, or athlete, it is absolutely critical that you stay hydrated during your workouts, bootcamp sessions, practices, games, and any other activity. If you are thirsty it is already too late, you are dehydrated! At just 1% loss of your normal water volume you can expect anywhere from a 5-10% decrease in performance. At 2%, up to a 30% loss of performance. Sweating will also cause you to lose electrolytes, these cannot be replaced by water alone. Gatorade is perfect for this, followed second by PowerAde.

So what happens during a workout if you do not hydrate yourself? Body temperature will rise quickly and your ability to regulate temperature will be greatly reduced, sweat rates and blood volume will drop, muscle cells will lose electrolytes and fluid, cardiovascular function will drop, fatigue will set in much quicker, and overall performance will decrease.

Training outside in the heat poses and extreme danger to you, especially if you are carrying extra body fat. If you are carrying extra fat it means your more likely to hold onto heat. Fat reduces heat loss. Meaning an increase in heat-related illness or even death. You can build up a heat tolerance by increasing your physical fitness levels. But this comes at the expense of an increased sweat rate. If you have children be warned that they have a lower capability for adaptation to heat, because of having less sweat glands and each gland not producing as much sweat. So if you are just getting back into the game of fitness, or are an average gym rat, a boot camp fan, or an elite athlete hydration becomes crucial when training in these situations.

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