Ahh, unfortunately, it’s not that type of drink we are talking about today! What we actually mean is water! A lot of people think that if they exercise right and ‘hit their macros’ then that’s all they need to worry about. Guess what, those people are wrong! Being appropriately hydrated is extremely important for everyone, and even more so if you’re a regular exerciser. Did you know that by obtaining appropriate fluid balance (drinking the same amount as you are expending) you can improve your heart rate, regulate your temperature, improve your blood volume, improve cardiac output and save energy? All things that are extremely important if you want to get the most out of your workout.

The average person can lose anywhere up to 1 litre of fluid during an hour of exercise, and with well trained people losing up to 3 litres. There are lots of things that can affect how much we lose when we exercise including temperature, humidity, clothing, body size and your level of fitness. You may be surprised to hear that the fitter you are the more likely you are to sweat more, losing more fluid, as your body is better conditioned to regulate your temperature.

So how much do you need to be drinking? Generically, it is advised that you drink at least 2 litres of water a day, however, if you are exercising then you need to add in regaining the fluid you lost and there is a super simple way to calculate this. Simply, way yourself in as minimal clothing as possible prior to one hour of your average exercise. Do not drink anything during this hour of exercise (NOTE: This is a one time only thing to gauge how much fluid you lose, DO NOT do this regularly) then weigh yourself immediately after exercise again in minimal clothing. For every kg in body weight you have lost, you need to drink about 1 litre of water to balance out that fluid loss.

Another handy way to calculate how much water you should be drinking everyday is to drink 1ml for every kcal you consume. So let’s say you eat approximately 2500kcals/day – you should then be drinking 2.5 litres of water each day. Again, it is important you only calculate this if you are consuming calorie balance, do not do this if you are on a deficit diet.

So when should you be drinking? Drinking for exercise is really important and you should never start exercise in a dehydrated state. Therefore, your should aim to consume 5-7ml of water per kg body weight 4 hours prior to your workout session, ensuring you are fully hydrated when you begin. During exercise, you should be aiming to replace 80% of your fluid loss – this is why it’s so important to know on average how much you lose during your session. Post exercise you need to replace anything that you haven’t already during exercise and so requirements will vary. However, you should aim to drink as much as you can tolerate immediately post exercise. Drinks with a carbohydrate and sodium content will be more effective at re-hydration than plain water.

What about sports drinks? Well, they all have their time and place and you do have a variety to choose from so here is a small breakdown for you:

Hypotonic drinks Рthese are a thirst quencher and provide little energy, usually containing 4g or less of carbohydrate per 100mls. This is an ideal drink for recreational exercisers and is absorbed quicker than water.

Isotonic drinks – these are also thirst quenchers, are absorbed at the same rate as water and can provide some energy as they contain 4 – 8g carbohydrate per 100ml. This is ideal for endurance exercise.

Hypertonic drinks – these provide energy and usually contain 8g+ of carbohydrate per 100ml, is absorbed slower than water and is ideal for any ultra events and/or post exercise.

So which is which? Lucozade, gatorade, fruit juice? What to choose? Your best bet? Make your own! Sports drinks are heavily marked up and don’t generally contain anything that you couldn’t create yourself, so below we have put some easy to make ‘sports drinks’ recipes just for you to help maximise your workouts!

 

Hypotonic Drink

20 – 40g sugar

1000ml warm water

1/4 teaspoon salt

(splash of diluting juice for flavour)

Isotonic Drink

40 – 80g sugar

1000ml warm water

1/4 teaspoon salt

(splash of diluting juice for flavour)

Hypertonic Drink

400ml orange/apple fruit juice

1000ml water

1/4 teaspoon salt

Not to worry about drinking warm water, this is just to allow the sugar to mix in fully and you can chill prior to drinking.

Happy drinking everyone! And if you would like more advice on your fluid or nutrition intake for exercise then get in touch with us now.