During exercise, it can be difficult to consume fuel in the form of food, so sports drinks are an easy way to replenish glucose (energy) for events lasting over an hour in duration. The recommendation for adequate fuel and hydration during continuous activity is:
4-8 oz. (think 1 gulp equals 1 oz.) of water every 15-20 minutes during the first hour of exercise.
After the first hour, switch to a sports drink
Continue to consume 4-8 oz. of a sports drink after 45-60 minutes of activity to provide your body with enough carbohydrate, fluid, and electrolytes for optimal performance
Sports drinks provide the appropriate concentration of sugar/carbohydrate, so they are the best choice in prolonged duration activity. Other liquid sources of carbohydrate (juice, soda, etc.) are often too concentrated, which may lead to intestinal cramping and GI upset. Be sure to practice your preferred fuel choice at practice. Never try something new the day of the big event!
Another tip is to hop on the scale one day before practice and again after practice to see your change in weight. Any loss is solely water weight, so for every pound lost, replenish with 16-24 oz. of water.
Staying consistently well hydrated is the best method to ensure optimal performance. Research has proven that even just a 2% reduction in body weight can have a major impact on performance. It’s a good idea to carry a water bottle and constantly sip during the day. Your urine color should be light yellow and is the best indicator of hydration status.
If you’re a salty sweater (frequent cramping, sweat that stings the eyes, white salt streaks on clothing/face), additional salt should be added to replenish sodium lost.
Make a plan today for how you’ll refuel during your next practice or game!
Interested in hearing more from Whitney? Stay tuned for her next two articles about fueling during and after performance, and contact her directly!
Call (610) 762-0050 or email email@example.com