Whether you are a couch potato, a recreational exerciser, or a top-level athlete, hydration is important not only for performance, but for basic physiological functioning. Our bodies total weight is up to 60 percent water, meaning if you weigh 100kg, 60kg of that weight is simply water. With this in mind, we will talk about the importance of water in relation to exercise, but remember that water is essential for our daily functioning (mental focus and clarity), all the way down to our bodies daily functioning at the cellular level.
Hydration is so important that a water loss of 1-2% of our bodyweight (which is roughly the amount at which thirst is perceived), athletic performance will suffer, and if you are not exercising, mental focus and clarity will suffer. In other words, if you wait to hydrate until you feel thirsty, it is too late. Because of this it is important to know your daily fluid intake needs.
Without getting into all the science, our total daily fluid intake should be roughly 4 Litres/ day. However, the average person gets around 1 Litre of fluid from their food, which means that you should be getting in at least 3 Litres of fluid each day, which can come from water, tea, and coffee. If it is hot outside, this should be increased by around 0.5 Litres, and if you are exercising, depending on the volume, the fluid intake needs may potentially double. A good rule for an avid exerciser, is 4 litres of fluid each day. The fluid intake needs will vary between each individual based on some things like bodyweight, but the above will keep most of us in the hydrated zone.
Hydration before/during/after exercise is vital. It is too late to start hydrating if you wait until you are sweating or thirsty. It is recommended that a person should take in about 0.5 Litres of fluid about 30 minutes before exercising. So, it would be a good idea, to drink 0.5 litres of water before each Crossfit class. During exercise, fluid intake is also important. A good rule to follow is that you should take in about 0.25 Litres of fluid for every 15 minutes of exercise. So, during a 1 hour Crossfit class, you should be taking in at least 1 litre of fluid, which can be water, a sports drink, or water mixed with BCAA’S.
At first glance, drinking 3-4 Litres of water each day seems like a lot. And yes, before the body adjusts to this amount of water intake, you will be making frequent trips to the toilet. After the body gets used to this amount of water, your bathroom break frequency will return to normal. It is also easy to simply forget to drink water when you are busy, so there are a couple of things you can do to ensure that you get adequate water. Here are some suggestions that may help.
-Buy a cool water bottle. If you like your water bottle, you are more likely to use it, and carry it around with you each day. And it will be harder to forget. Bright colours, cool designs, cool shape, whatever tickles your fancy.
-If you find that you are carrying around your water bottle, but not using it, another strategy is to fill up four 1 Litre water bottles first thing in the morning, and set a daily goal to have those suckers empty by the end of the day.
-Some people have trouble drinking plain water. To add some life to that boring water, try to use natural flavouring strategies, such as placing some sliced lemons inside your water bottle, or sliced cucumbers for some taste.
Now that it is summer in Kristiansand, hopefully, the temperatures will be hotter, and you will be sweating more before, during, and after classes, so make hydration a priority, and your performance in class, and daily life will improve.
Crossfit 46 Coaching Staff