Signs of Dehydration

Are you drinking enough water to stay hydrated during your training and events? Performance Nutrition Coach, Ken Hoover shares the dehydration indicators to look out for, tips for staying regimented with your intake, and when to use Honey Stinger's Rapid Hydration Mixes

How do I know if I'm dehydrated?

This is an area I wish were easier to recognize and explain. It’s a significant problem and has potentially serious consequences.

It's difficult for a coach, parent, or friend to identify. By the time signs are outwardly visible there's an urgency to deal with it. I try to keep an eye on my clients forearm, arm, and shoulder skin “tightness”. When the body is well hydrated, the skin seems to be tighter and shows more vascularity.

Bodies tend to hold water under the skin if they aren’t getting enough of it. The skin may appear to have less elasticity and a general plumpness.

Bodybuilders are masterful at understanding this, and utilize water and proper hydration to bring more definition to their physiques. Some carry gallon water jugs around with them. Hydration is top of mind for bodybuilders as it directly impacts their performance. Water is also helpful with satiety when dieting in pre-contest phase.

What are other dehydration indicators I can look out for?

As you likely know, if you’re really thirsty, you’re probably late, but if you've found yourself here, I'd recommend hydrating with a sense of urgency. Better late than face down on the pavement, trail, field, track, or court. 

If you're wearing a heartrate monitor you can see changes in HR. Respiration is impacted and should be watched as a clue. Pay attention to your breathing.

Hopefully one of these indicators will remind you to get your water in. If the red flag warnings don't appear, you'll have more side effects to deal with. Among them is lethargy. You might also feel dizzy, confused, lightheaded, and have vision issues. This is a clear sign that you are dehydrated!

If you get to a point where you can’t keep fluids down, or have diarrhea for 24 hours, it's likely time to contact your medical professional. Rehydration in emergency conditions is usually best administered through IV.

Final advice, just don’t go there. Be ahead of these issues by staying properly hydrated. Every athlete is different, but a good starting point is to aim for 400-800 milliliters of water per hour. Read more about ways to increase fluid intake here

If you have trouble remembering when you last hydrated, create an intake schedule and make it more appealing by mixing in flavor and electrolytes with Honey Stinger's Rapid Hydration Mixes.

Hydration should be your friend in competition and your least expensive insurance policy. Missing out on your fluids can take you out of a competition or remove you from the Podium.

Stay hydrated, stay well!

Content provided by Ken Hoover, Performance Nutrition Coach and Program Designer

Ken has over 30 years of Nutrition Coaching with a focus on evidence based, proven, and compliant based programs using functional food. With a range of experience coaching and educating individuals, families, teams, schools, and school districts, Ken is an expert on all things nutrition.