How Much Water Should I Drink During Workouts?

Image by Olya Adamovich from Pixabay

 

There isn't a standard amount of water that you should take while exercising because our bodies absorb and lose fluids differently.

Your sweating or water loss rate also depends on the environment, how much fluids you took before the exercise, and your health. If you're on medication, you may also retain water differently. Now that we've laid the foundation of our discussion, how much water should you take?

Does drinking water boost your energy or help you perform better?

The Recommended Fluid Intake During Exercise

You need water because it's 60% of your weight and 75% of your muscles. If these two factors change, it affects even your ability to exercise.

One way to assess how much water you need while working out is by planning how you'll attain the recommended daily water intake. It's at least 125 ounces for a man and 91 ounces for a woman. However, take more when exercising on a hot day.

One of the most quoted recommendations is by the American Council on Exercise. It suggests rehydrating your system with up to 10 ounces of fluids. The minimum you can take is 7 ounces. On top of that, space it out so that you take sips every 10 to 20 minutes of your workout session. But that's not all. To avoid dehydration, you should start taking water before the exercise.

Therefore, start with 17 to 20 ounces of water taken two hours before you hit the gym or start your morning run. Later, after sweating out calories, replenish your body with between 16 and 24 ounces per pound of body weight burned.

As such, you should consider weighing yourself before and after your session. Wear the same clothes, and remove anything that may affect the figures. For instance, don't stand on the scale with your towel over your shoulder.

To calculate the total fluid lost during a workout, use the two weight figures suggested above, urine loss and fluid intake. Therefore, subtract the second weight from the first one, and add the weight of the fluid taken during the workout. Since asking you to weigh urine is gross, estimate fluid lost when you went to the loo during your workout session. If you didn't, then work with body weight and fluid taken. You can turn the figure into fluid lost per hour by dividing it by the hours you exercised.

Another factor that'll tell you how much water you've lost in a workout is your sweat rate. You'll use the figures above.

Therefore:

sweat rate per hour = [initial weight - final weight + fluid weight - urine weight] / hours of exercise

You'll note that we're mentioning fluids during and after your workout. Experts say you need more than just water because sweating also flushes out electrolytes. When you start your session before hydration, your temperature rises fast, and you overwork your heart, which affects your performance. In such circumstances, your heart pumps less blood per beat and your muscles receive less oxygen. Another function affected is your body's ability to flush out waste.

The American College of Sports Medicine echoes these sentiments. It explains that drinking water during a workout prevents excess dehydration and maintains plasma electrolyte levels.

Hence, in some circumstances, you'd benefit more from a combination of beverages with sodium, potassium, and carbohydrates instead of drinking water only.

Consequently, you can add a few fruit juices to your fluid intake because they have good carb content. For example, 100g of apples give you 14.8 grams of carbs, while 100g of oranges produce 11.8 grams of carbs.

On top of that, you can mix water with creatine monohydrate so that you're taking in water and power to increase your muscle-building process. But also note that you should double your water intake as creatine may cause dehydration. It increases muscle potential by drawing water from plasma to hydrate your muscles. This risk is higher when taking creatine with caffeine or other supplements.

 water intake during workouts

Image by Manuel Darío Fuentes Hernández from Pixabay

The American College of Sports Medicine also opines that since sweating rates vary, it's better when a fluid replacement program caters to an individual rather than to the masses.

Sometimes you want to stay hydrated, but you forget. At other times, you're rushing to the gym and forget your water bottle at home. Are you among those facing such problems?

These easy tips will help you attain the recommended water intake.

  • Set a reminder on your phone. Since you'll have it nearby as you exercise, you can set reminders to take a sip after every 20 minutes in an hour-long workout.
  • Take a water bottle with you. Set it beside your workout bench or strapped on a treadmill water bottle holder.
  • Drink fluids as soon as you start the workout and at regular intervals to replenish your body at the same rate as the water loss from sweating. Also, take cool to cold water to enhance absorption. Add carbohydrates and sodium to the water when you work out longer than an hour.
  • Know how to tell you're dehydrated. For example, you might feel thirsty and dizzy, have a headache, pass dark yellow urine or have dry lips.
  • Drink water even when you're not thirsty. USADA notes that thirst can be misleading because most people feel thirsty after losing over 2% of body weight.
  • Take frequent sips of water throughout. If you need more encouragement, flavor your water with lime or berries.
  • Consume beverages alongside water, such as juice, milk, and herbal tea.

Final Thoughts

Taking water must be part of your activities as you work out. The amount you take depends on many factors, including the weather, your sweating rate, and your health status. But you can try taking up to ten ounces every 10 to 20 minutes.

Incorporate it into your routine seamlessly to maintain the momentum of your session. Hence, keep a water bottle close to your workout area. On top of that, drink water before and after your workout.

Diet & nutritionHealth & wellness

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