HYDRATION – Why drinking water alone does not “hydrate” the body.

You’ve heard it many times…drink lots and lots of water!  You should be drinking a minimum of half your body weight in ounces of water each and every day.  Sounds great…but are you hydrating or just flushing your system?

Here’s a common misunderstanding: There’s a big difference between drinking water and actually absorbing water (hydrating).  People are getting much better at trying to drink more water, but what happens is you’re not absorbing much of it at all because you don’t have the essential minerals, electrolytes, and salts to keep it in the system.  Sure, you have to pee constantly, that’s good right?  No…you are simply flushing your system and not allowing the body to actually absorb the essential minerals that the body needs.

This is even more critical now that it is starting to warm up…you will be sweating more and more.  Many of you have already started running or biking.  For every pound of weight lost in a workout is equal to 16-20 ounces of fluid lost.  In this same period the human body loses 220mg sodium, 63mg potassium, 8mg magnesium, and 16mg calcium...this cannot be replaced with water alone!  This needs to be replenished as soon as possible.  Excessive sweating or weight loss during a workout is a natural process; however, you must replenish the nutrients lost in order for your body to adapt and recover.

Consider this...Exercise makes us weaker, and it’s our adaptation to exercise that makes us stronger.  Hydration is crucial both during exercise and when you’re not exercising, when your body is recovering.  Want to see results and get stronger, you need to replenish these lost nutrients.

Electrolytes are designed to help people make the most of their downtime and recovery time.  Electro-what?  What the heck are Electrolytes?  Electrolytes are chemicals (primarily sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and vitamin c) that form ions in body fluids.  They help make sure specific bodily functions run at optimal levels. Too few electrolytes will cause the body to cramp.  As serious athletes know, cramping can make a big difference in how you perform.  So how do we prevent cramping and keep our body running at its peak performance levels?  We keep it supplied with the needed amount of electrolytes.

If you’re dehydrated, you can’t repair the tissue damage from the last workout, you can’t synthesize protein properly.  You see ligaments and tendons that become more vulnerable, and they aren’t able to withstand day-to-day use as well, even just in normal life.  There’s a lot more conscious when it comes to how we hydrate.

What we want to do is make it simple for people to actually absorb the water they’re drinking. It’s hard to get enough water in a busy day.  I have kids, I work a full time job, and sometimes it’s easy for me to fall behind.  There are many products out there that work great for enhancing your water safely and effectively.

We personally recommend Nuun brand.  There are many flavors and there is no BS in their products.  Camelbak Elixir is also a solid choice without the BS.  These products have the essential electrolytes, minerals, and salts to help you absorb the water you’re drinking.  They even come with a caffeinated version for a slow release caffeine fix.

With people are eating more whole foods now, and they’re eating a much cleaner diet.  But in doing that, they’ve stripped essential salts out of their diet, and they’re not getting enough of the essential salts to replace them and absorb water properly. They’re drinking protein shakes, but without the essential minerals and salts to absorb that water.

These products aren’t just for the top athletes…they’re for you!  It will help prepare everyone for performance, but it’s also for normal busy folks who might fall behind on fluids throughout the day.

So grab that FitAid post WOD, but stay hydrated throughout the day!  Cheers!