Hydration for Athletes

Hydration for Athletes
Hydration for Athletes

In today’s post I’m gonna talk about hydration and nut just hydration, I’d like to talk about hydration for athletes. I chose this topic because, for so many years it not felt to be an important issue ant yet it is. I emphasive hydration as a very vital part to peak performance.

 

Before, drinking water during a game was a sign of weakness but actually it’s quite the contrary in order to be at the top of your game and to perform maximally, you need to be well hydrated. It’s the concept to expel the old myths.

Why is hydration important? The way I’l like to describe it is: “Think about your cardiovascular system as a pumping mechanism it’s pipes with the pump that sends water through the house. With every beat of your heart, a certain amount of blood flows through your body. In that blood it’s carried oxygen, nutrients, sugar. They help giving your tissues oxygen for performance, carbohydrates, sugar, vitamins, minerals, nutrients to help your muscles function proper way. Now, if you think about a pumping system, if one pump sends out one unit of a fluid and you start to lose luids in that pumping system, to get that one unit of fluid if there’s half as much fluid then your heart has to pump twice as hard.”.

They’re for the engine, the pump has to work harder, this is why you will require more calories, more energy. You’re gonna start to fatigue sooner, because you’re making your heart to work harder than it has to. You’re burning out more ATP, this is your energy source of your body.

So, the more you make your heart pump, the quicker you’re gonna fatigue. Because you lower the level of oxygen, nutrients, sugar and the calories in your muscles, so you’re gonna cramp, you’re gonna fatigue and as those Gatorade commercials says: It is in you, well, if it’s not in you, it ain’t in you.

So it’s very important to stay well hydrated to conserve energy so that’s your heart doesn’t have to do extra work, you want to conserve the calories.

Athletes view the consequence of not hydrating well enough as being thirsty and that’s correct. It lowers the performance level, it’s a lack of oxygenation also because the oxygen carries through your whole body so you’ll get lack of oxygen to your brain. It’s gonna decrease your concentration, it’s gonna make you agitated.

I always hear coaches saying: “Control yourself, the ball and the opponent” but I think, if you don’t have the brain to control yourself and your muscles aren’t functioning to 100%, cause you’re dehydrated, then there’s no chance to control any of these.

Dehydrated athletes will get slower, lazy, they will not have the same consistency with their elements or technical processes. Also in each game you have to be there mentally, so we all have to understand, hydration is very important to that. So, in a game, an athlete has to be mentally and physically connected and hydration is very important for both aspects of the game.

What factors affect hydration status? I guess, it’s a multitude of things. First is the temperature, when you’re in a warmer climate, the more you’re gonna sweat cause the body wanna cool down, so, more fluids you’re gonna lose.

Humidity is the second thing. In very dry aride environments when you sweat, the sweat evaporates and that evaporation acts as a cooling system to your body, it’s a natural cooler to your skin. But when you’re in a very humid climate, it’s so much moisture in the air already that the water can’t evaporate into the environment, it’s sticks on you and creates a higher body temperature. The higher the body temperature, the more energy you need, the harder again your heart works, the more energy that you’re expending trying to cool down, the weaker you’ll become, the hotter you’ll become, you’re core temperature will rise and that can have adverse effects on your body system.

In a warmer weather you need light colour clothing to reflect the heat (dark colors absorb the heat), all to improve performance.

Also, of major importance is the physical conditioning. The more well physically conditioned you are, the less stress it’s gonna put to your heart, the less energy you’re gonna have to spend.

An important factor to athletes training is represented by the endurance training, which is: higher reps, less weights, less sets, they increase the efficiency of their muscles by making them stronger to extract oxygen from the bloodstream. Being in a good physical condition goes back to not having as much of a strain for the heart, you’re gonna function more efficiently and that’s is gonna help your fluid needs to be balanced.

Also we need to talk about medication. Some drugs can increase your heart rate and dehydration facts and that can lead to deep crisis performance. Because of these drugs you cannot receive too much blood to your brain, diuretics drugs are gonna create more urine fluids that they have to eliminate, stimulents which will have adverse effects on your heart rate and hydration status. That’s why they have to check with the physician what kind of drugs they take, also decongestants can cause a lot of problems with hydration issues.

For a proper hydration is recommended not to drink soda. Acidified juices have tremendous sugar load in which will drop the blood sugar, because pancreas has to pump out insulin to counteract this sugar load and that’s gonna make athlestes weaker.

Also caffeine is not recommended to drink a on a regular basis if you’re not used to it. Caffeine will act as a diuretic so it’s a double-edged weapon.

Now let’s talk to what we should put into our bodies. That depends on acclimatization. Acclimatization – means how your body adapts to a change in temperature, so, anytime there’s a change of temperature greater than 10 degrees, it takes to bour body about two weeks to adapt to that. The body will have to sweat more to try to cool itself down cause it’s not used to the heat.

Another example is during the first two weeks of restarting the training after a competitive break (in the summer period), until the body acclimatize to the increasing temperature, the sweat has more salt in it, there’s a hight concentration of salt. So, when you use more water and you lose more salt, you’re about to experience muscle cramps.

Athletes needs to take well balanced supplement liquids which have special amounts of sodium, potassium and glucose. It’s not recommended to take liquids that have more than 6% carbohydrate concentration to it, for example Powerade, Gatorade, Lucozade, Stamidane Sport, etc.. Fruit juces and acidified juices they can have 10-12% glucose in them. Those fluids go through their intestins so the body sucks water out of their bloodstream into their stomach to dilute it so that he can be absorbed, that’s why they internally dehydrate before they can hydrate.

For athletes with muscular cramps during effort I advise them to put a quarter teaspoon of salt into the bottle of Gatorade, that will help prevent the cramps, it’s working really really nice.

Water follow salt! So where’s salt, there have to be water to keep sodium to a steady concentration of fluids in everybody system. But you don’t want to have too much sodium into your body raising your blood pressure and also not too little which cause neurological  problems, we need a balanced ammount.

Heat cramps will happen when you don’t get a specific amount of sodium, your muscles are gonna cramp up – this usually happens during the acclimatization period.

Now let’s talk about heat strokes. Heat strokes happen when we’re not able to sweat anymore  because there’s not much water left in our system, our core system starts to heat up and we start to get a little crazy. It starts to affect our brain because now we’re not getting enough oxygen to our brain. We start to get a little agitated, disoriented, we’re gonna start to argue about nonsense, we’re going to look a little dazed like we’re sleepwalking and then we’re so crazy that we continue to run because now it’s like this cycle challenge, the temperature is increasing and we vascularly collapse, which is heat stroke. It starts to shut down our kidneys and potentially kill us. That’s why, you have to stay adequately dydrated, your body needs the fluids, and ten the salt helps to retain the fluid gadget.

Let’s talk about a hydration plan for athletes specifically. If next day you’ll have a match out in hot weather, the night before the game, before you go to bed, you have to drink a 0,5 l bottle of sports drink, the next morning have a good breakfast, not too much fat, get some carbo’s in there, decent amount of protein, no dairy products because they’re very hard to digest and they can cause stomach cramping, it’s very hard than the intestine to digest, thy’re very concentrated, you’re going to get that it not intervascular dehydration before rehydration so have another 0,4 l of a sport drink for breakfast that morning. If the match is at two-three o’clock in the afternoon you’re going to have a very light lunch and at twelve o’clock you’re going to have another 0,4 l bottle of a sport drink, 30 minutes before the match you’re going to have 0,2 l in every 15 to 20 minutes and another 0,5 l as soon as the match is done.

Another thing you have to understand is that it takes time for your body to absorb the fluids which is why we go one or two hours before a match that you want to drink that extra 0,4 – 0,5 l bottle, because it’s going to take one or two hours to adequately absorb into your system, so, when you’re thirsty, it’s too late.

If you’re a caffeine drinker and drink coffee every single day, that cup of coffee in the game day is not going to affect you, but if you don’t drink coffee, or tea, or Coka Cola and you think that glass of coke is going to give you energy as I said before, it’s going to do just the opposite. Also, alcohol is not a replacement fluid, because alcohol acts as a diuretic. After a couple of beers you’ll start multiple trips to the men’s room and it’s not because you drank so much beer, it’s that the beer cut off the hormone in our brain that retains water so not only are we losing the food that we drank but we are losing all the other food in our body and again that’s going to increase our risk of having cramps and diminished performance.

I guess I probably covered a lot of good topics related to hydration and think that should take care of it. So my friends, it’s time for you to reconfigure your routine in terms of hydration, most atgletes probably don’t put the connection together between what I was explained before and their actual performance level. So, it’s really important stuff because it’s all about the win and you need to be ar your’s peak performance. You just contribute to beating yourself if you don’t stay adequately hydrated. Keep up the good work !

References:

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