Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Fluid Recommendations; Athletes and Non-Athletes

Have you ever been to a yoga or pilates class where your instructor advised against drinking any fluids during the workout? Apparently this is common. I've never encountered this (but I've only taken about 3 yoga/pilates classes....) but that doesn't mean it doesn't happen. This is not good practice, because while you may not be moving as much as with other exercises (running, swimming, basketball) you are still sweating, and thus you are losing water and electrolytes. When sweating is involved, fluids need to be present. It's as simple as that.

The following information about hydration for athletes and non-athletes is from Today's Dietitian Magazine and the American Dietetic Association's Sport's Nutrition Manual for Professionals.


What's the point of drinking fluids? To attain euhydration (normal state of body water content). Sometimes electrolytes are necesary as well, which can be obtained from certain fluids.

Where do we obtain fluids? Drinks (80%) and food (20%). Even drinks such as beer and coffee count towards your daily fluid intake. They may have mild diuretic effects, but they still count as fluid. The foods that contribute the most fluid (water) are fresh fruits and vegetables.


How do we lose fluids? Through the skin, and respiratory tract (known as "insensible fluid loss"), urine, feces, and sweat. The total amount of fluid lost really depends on the individual. Some people sweat more than others throughout the day. Even your diet will effect the amount of fluid lost each day (think about the feces part....). Random Tip: If you have to go number two, don't hold it! The longer you hold it in, the longer your colon will have to extract fluid from your feces. This may help you retain more fluid, but it will also possibly cause constipation and pain when you finally go to the bathroom. Random Tip: If you are on a high protein diet, be sure to drink plenty of fluids. Why? The urea, which is a by-product of protein metabolism, will need excreted via the urine. The more urea you have to excrete, the more urine you will produce, thus the more fluids you loose each day.

What happens if you take in too much fluid? This is something that many of us never consider, but it's incredibly dangerous when it happens. Taking in too much fluid, especially without food or a sports drink, can cause a bloated stomach, puffy fingers and ankles, a bad headache, and confusion. These are all signs of hyponatremia (low blood sodium). Try not to gain weight during exercise. If you do, that means you are drinking too much!

What happens if you take in too little fluid? You become dehydrated, which will have a negative effect on physical and mental performance, whether you are an athlete or not. When you become dehydrated your body temperature and your heart rate increases. You also burn more glycogen. This is not good for an athlete. Random Tip: If you have dark yellow urine, you are dehydrated! Look for a color that is close to clear.

What are the fluid recommendations for non-athletes? It's often cited as 8 cups per day, and generally that is true. This depends on the person, however, and the environment in which they spend most of their day. People living in hotter climates may need more. People who consume very little foods, or few fruits and vegetables, may also need more. People who are on a high protein diet or who just started consuming more fiber may need more as well. There is not right answer. Just look at your pee for the answer :)

What the the fluid recommendations for athletes?

Before: Drink ~16 ounces (.5 liters) 2 hours before activity. Be sure to produce a light colored, almost clear urine. About 15 minutes before your activity you should consume 8 to 16 ounces of fluid (.25-.5 liters).

During: Drink to minimize loss of body weight, but be careful not to over-drink. If exercising more than an hour, or if exercising in a very hot climate that causes a lot of sweating, Gatorade or a similar sports drink may be warranted. If exercising less than an hour, water is fine. Drink between 16-64 ounces per hour (4-16 ounces per 15 minutes), depending on the workout, the environment, and your sweat rate.

After
: Always weigh yourself before your workout. Then weigh yourself after your workout. Drink about 24 ounces (.75 liters) per pound lost. You can attain this throughout the rest of the day. Getting your fluid in the form of chocolate milk or Gatorade may be helpful, and may actually be necessary if you worked out for longer than an hour, or if you are a heavy sweater. Why? Glycogen replenishment (both Gatorade and chocolate milk), prevention of muscle soreness and promotion of muscle growth (chocolate milk) and to help speed rehydration (the sodium in the Gatorade and the sugar in both may help you drink more fluids). Also the electrolytes are important to replace those lost in your sweat.

Coming Up
Tomorrow or Friday I will be posting my thoughts about MyPyramid. I've been reviewing it in depth lately and have some serious issues with the plan, and I'd love to hear your thoughts. Have a great day everyone!

26 comments :

  1. I've never been in a yoga class where that happened, but I think I'd maybe die. I NEED my water.

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  2. I've been to yoga where they tell you not to drink! I think it is pretty common in hot yoga especially.

    Thanks for the info ;-)

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  3. I've always known being not over or underhydrsted is important, but I never realized there were so many factors! I never would have thought about protein.
    What would you say about morning exercisers and fluids? Obviously, I can't drink 16oz of water 2 hours beforehand unless I set my alarm to wake me up and then sleep another 90 minutes. As is, I have coffee and some water and then hit the treadmill, and this seems to work for me, but I wonder if there's something better

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  4. In my hot yoga class, we have "scheduled water breaks," and are encouraged to not drink during other times during the class. It's supposed to encourage maximum detox...but honestly, I kind of think it's a load of you know what.

    Thanks for the hydration tips-- I'm bad about drinking water, but I'm trying to get better!

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  5. I am a soccer player so obviously hydration is really important for me. The problem however is during a game I find it hard to replenish fluids. I can take a few swigs but that's it otherwise I get horrid stomach cramps. By the end of our 90 min game I'm super thirsty and chug like 2 bottles, but during my body doesn't handle fluid well for some reason. That goes for all my workouts too. Its super frustrating

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  6. Thanks for commenting on my blog and offering advice. I appreciate it a lot. I have tried every sports drink I can think of but they usually give me horrible stomach aches because of the sugar. I can drink a little Propel, but that's pretty much it. Gatorade is a def no for me. I'm still on the lookout for the best sports drink for me.

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  7. I know that in Hot yoga (Bikiram) they recommend that you don't drink fluids during the class or at least for the first part of the class and then you can. Once in class I was really tired.. I mean this is HOT yoga and I Grabbed my water bottle and the instructor asked me to put it down and wait until it is allowed to intake water. I assumed it is an etiquette thing...

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  8. I'm glad you addressed the issue of the dangers of taking in TOO MUCH water; lots of people aren't aware of that. It's even MORE dangerous because the symptoms are the same as when we're dehydrated!

    I've never been to a class where the instructor said not to drink water- they've always encouraged us to have a water bottle beside us at all times.

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  9. I actually recommend not drinking too much water before a yoga class...Sure, a few sips are totally fine, but since a lot of yoga poses balance the weight on the stomach, excess water can cause cramping and discomfort...However, eating immediately before a yoga class is definitely more of a concern.

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  10. So, so interesting, Gina! I've often wondered about drinking TOO much water in the past. I imagine it has to be A LOT of water, though!

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  11. Thanks for the tips! I never really think about how much I drink a day. I just drink when I'm thirsty. I also don't drink while I'm working out usually - now I'll reconsider!

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  12. I could not even imagine exercising without water. I drink so much water throughout the day it's like my best friend... Always at my side (or in my water bottle). One thing I never think about is electrolyte replacement. Other than gatorade and sports drinks like that what do you recommend? Any food items help with that?

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  13. A while back I went to a Boot Camp class, and they wouldn't let the class drink water. I ignored the instruction and the other participants in the class actually yelled at me. I still ignored them. I've never had that happen in yoga. That may be bikram yoga that doesn't let people drink.

    Great post as always!

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  14. question: i've been getting crazy charlie horses in the middle of the night lately! i thoought i was drinking enough water! i drink about 4-5 liters a day plus tea and what not and i never drink less then 3 liters. whats up with that?? too much water or not enough?!

    thank you water guru

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  15. I have been to yoga classes where it is not an issue. The yoga I do now though is a pretty rigid ashtanga practice, and she tells us not to drink water because part of the idea behind the practice is creating an internal fire. Might sound kind of hokey, but she also advises you to drink a lot the night before and morning of. Granted, I drink enough water already that it is a non-issue.

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  16. I've only taken one yoga class but they said nothing about no drinking!

    Thanks for all the info - I think we all need help sometimes remembering to drink. There are some days I definitely drink enough - some days were I could go hours without a sip of water. Always good to carry a water bottle around!

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  17. Great reminders based on fact...I love it! I am rarely found without my trusty water bottle and now that the weather is starting to warm up I crave H2O more and more everyday.

    Thanks, Gina! You are such a great resource!

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  18. Excellent information. Here is a question: Have you ever heard that it's best to drink water at room temperature when working out? I was told this recently and wondered if there was any value to it.

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  19. great info. I'm drinking water/tea all day long... more than what other people do. once I did a urine test that asked me to store all urine that I make in 24 hours. can you guess how much I pee? 4 liters!!! That's crazy isn't it?
    what about drinking during eating? maybe people say is not good, is that true?

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  20. This is good info. I think I drink enough for two people, so I'm not concerned. WIth all the tea, water, and fruits and veggies I consume, I think I'm well-hydrated. But I do hate that I wake up frequently in the night to pee!

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  21. so true....my trainer khrystle insists i drink through our whole workout-thank goodness!

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  22. Wow, I can't believe some yoga instructors refuse their students of water! I have been to many classes and that has never happened to me! Great info on water :)

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  23. That is crazy! I would be so irritated if an instructor told me not to drink some H20...I'm a super sweater!

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  24. Thank you for the great guidelines! So helpful!!

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