Hydrate Your Way to Greatness

Today was Day 2 of RunFAST, our latest program focused on developing speed, agility, and conditioning.  Session 1 is being held this month (July, in case you've been living under a rock) at the WT Woodson High School track.  Session 2 will be held at the Robert Frost Middle School field.  Each venue will provide unique benefits, so sign up for both sessions for best results.  It's not too late!

Anyway, this morning I had a participant show up without a water bottle.  Let me repeat that: Without a water bottle.  In July.  In the blazing sun.  On a hot, dark, track.  Teenagers...

Water is incredibly important!  The human body is anywhere between 60-75% water.  Not only that, lean body mass is about 75% water.  That means that, as you gain muscle, it becomes even more important to stay hydrated in order to build and maintain that lean tissue.

It should be very obvious how important it is to stay hydrated.  Dehydration is the silent killer of gains.  If you're exercising out in the hot sun, then you're sweating anywhere between 300-1200 mL of water per hour.  Football players performing two-a-days with heavy gear on can sweat up to 9 L of water an hour.  The human body contains about 42 total liters of water, meaning if little Johnny is out on the field with nothing to replenish, he may very well be sweating out over 25% of his total water reserves. 

You're probably thinking, "Cool facts Charlie, but what does any of this actually mean?" Well, it only takes about a 2-3% decrease in total body water stores for your state of dehydration to affect performance.  For the mathematically impaired, 3% of 42 L comes out to a whopping 1,260 mL.  You can now see how insanely important it is for little Johnny to bring a water bottle (or 3) to practice.

How to Assess Dehydration
Now that I've scared the ba-jeezus out of you, let's give you some information that you can put into action immediately.  I don't expect you to carry around a measuring cup and harvest every last drip of sweat oozing our of your pours.  For every kilogram (2.2 lbs) of weight you lose, you lose about 1 L of sweat.  Knowing this, there's actually an incredibly easy way to calculate water loss.  I'll lay it out in steps...

Step 1: Weigh yourself before your practice/competition/activity of your choice.

Step 2: Weigh yourself after your practice/competition/activity of your choice.

Step 3: Subtract your pre-weight from your post-weight (We'll call this variable A)

Step 4: Perform the calculation - (A/2.2) X 1 L.  You will then have a number for your total water loss, and can plan accordingly for future practices/competition/etc.

Example Scenario
Big Doug is a defensive lineman for his local high school.  He weighs 220 pounds and is in the middle of two-a-days in the heat of August.  Big Doug takes his state of hydration seriously, because he wants to play at the next level and understands how important it is to stay hydrated.  Naturally, Big Doug takes matters into his own hands.

Step 1: Big Doug weighs himself before Monday's practices.  220 lb, on the dot.

Step 2: Big Doug weighs himself after Monday's practices.  215.6 lb.

Step 3: Big Doug also excels in the classroom, and performs the calculation 220-215.6 flawlessly.  He comes to the conclusion that he has lost 4.4 pounds during the course of Monday's practices.

Step 4: Due to Big Doug's natural tendency to dominate all things math-related, he gasps!  He's lost a total of 2 L of water (math below), way past the amount needed to affect Big Doug's performance.  He decides to make a change.

(4.4/2.2) x 1 L = 2 Liters of Water

The next day at practice, Big Doug brings with him 2 extra liters of water to ensure that his performance is unhindered.

Be like Big Doug.  Hydrate your way to greatness.