Q: I have heard you talk about “restoring hydration status over hours” in a couple of different places now, and I find myself getting a little confused. The first time I heard you mention return to hydration was as you discussed the heat protocol, then you mentioned another time about returning to hydrated status between sessions. I always do a good job of hydration during training, so assumed I would be in good stead without thinking too much, so can you define what you mean? Also, if I drink during the day, I tend to stray toward non caloric drinks such as Vitamin Water Zero. Does that work?
Thank you for the question, and I am sure we can clear some things up for you. Let’s launch right in and outline a few important bullets that will help.
Types of Hydration
The easiest way for you to think about fluids consumed is to differentiate between those consumed during training and those consumed in the rest of life.
Training (and heat protocol!): The mission is to retain as high of a blood volume as possible and prevent massive dehydration.
- This doesn’t mean it is possible to remain at fully hydrated status, we cannot.
- We must consume fluids as closely matched to blood chemistry and promote cellular function, hence the "sciencey sports drinks/"
- Amount of fluids and electrolyte needs are based on both individual and environment of training
These are the fluids in daily life with a mission to promote recovery, support health, and energy:
- Even with good sports hydration, we must return the system to full hydration.
- We are eating foods with plenty of electrolytes while not losing them via exercise, so typically water is fine.
- Positive hydration helps with recovery of tissue health
- Full hydration will diminish hunger and fatigue, as well as managing energy cycles
With this context, if you complete the heat protocol, you will be emerging from a training session and a bout in the sweatbox in a dehydrated state. We must return to full hydration status. We cannot do this with some shock 'n awe approach! We must consistently rehydrate over several hours to allow absorption and full health benefits.
Types of Daily Hydration
From a health and body composition standpoint, all the drinks that promote "zero sugar" are an incredibly poor choice. Avoid diet soda (or diet poison as Kelli calls it), zero-calorie hydration drinks, and anything that is overly packaged. Choose one of these types of daily hydration choices:
- Water. Yes, it is really good for you and normally more than fine from the tap (Sorry, Flint. And now I hear Newark?)
- Water with additions: Add citrus and a pinch of table salt to assist with absorption.
- Lower calorie electrolyte hydration: I have yet to find one better than Precision Hydration’s 250 mg sodium solution.
And remember, you don’t need to be a camel in the day. Just drink one or two glasses of fluid with each meal and then have a sipping cup or bottle on the go between meals. More pee breaks, which can be rebranded as energizer performance breaks (I should trademark that).
I hope that helps,
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