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How Proper Hydration Can Improve Your Performance

When it comes to athletic performance, especially in respect to endurance sports, proper nutrition is critical for success.

Hydration has a positive impact on athletic performance

Often, the focus of sports nutrition is placed on food versus hydration. While food before, during and after exercising is important, your level of hydration is even more important. This is largely due to the consequences that can come from being dehydrated.

Why proper hydration is important 

The role of hydration (water) is to regulate core temperature, digest food, and remove waste. As little as a 2% reduction in body mass from dehydration is enough to be detrimental to performance. More specifically, dehydration can result in gastrointestinal distress, increased strain on the heart, reduced muscular and aerobic endurance due to the need to regulate core temperature, muscle cramps, fatigue, diminished mental capacity and if severe enough, heat stroke, which can be fatal.


Sodium & Carbohydrates Role in Hydration

Sodium is an electrolyte responsible for regulating the body’s fluids, helping maintain a healthy blood pH balance and create the electrical impulses that is essential to all aspects of physical activity. The kidneys work to keep the electrolyte concentrations in the blood constant despite changes in the body.

Honey Stinger's new Rapid Hydration mixes help you stay hydrated before, during, and after workouts.

While a regular diet typically supplies the necessary sodium required for workouts for a couple hours, it's recommended to have some form of sodium supplementation for exercising over two or three hours. However, salt tablets are not recommended as they can result in over-hydrating.

Carbohydrates play an important role in hydration, too. They help facilitate sodium and water absorption.

Elevating Your Hydration Game 

Every athlete is different, but a good starting point is to aim for 400-800 milliliters of water per hour. In addition to hydrating during your workout, remember hydrating pre and post-workout is important, too.

As noted above, carbohydrates can help with the absorption of water and sodium. As such, performance optimized drinks like Honey Stinger’s Rapid Hydration mixes of products that contains carbohydrates can help increase an individual’s athletic performance.

 

Content provided by Rick Prince, Director, United Endurance Sports Coaches Association. 

Rick is the founder of United Endurance Sports Coaching Academy (UESCA), a science-based endurance sports education company that certifies running, ultrarunning and triathlon coaches. Rick holds a BS in Kinesiology and has been working in the fitness and endurance sport coaching industries for over 20 years. In his free time, Rick enjoys cycling and running.