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Performance Nutrition Coach, Ken Hoover is fortunate to work with athletes competing at a high level every day. We asked for his advice on leveraging hydration to keep a competitive edge. Here's what he had to say.
Asked in that way, my answer would have to be: ALL YOU CAN.
In order to get specific, more information would be necessary. What's your size? What's your sport? How well conditioned are you for that sport? What's the weather like where you train or compete? How much water do you drink in a day currently?
So many factors affect hydration, so it's important to keep that in mind and plan accordingly.
As a general rule, most people (athletes tend to be on the high end) can process about a gallon of water in a day. Lets start there as a baseline.
Obviously, you need to work in water loss during activity as a part of that answer. For example, two football practices per day in August out in the Texas heat could result in several pounds of weight (water) lost in a day. This athlete might require an extra gallon or several liters, depending on how much was lost. Sweat rates vary per athlete.
It’s my recommendation that you run a test on yourself.
Rehearse your event at a pace or effort level similar to how you intend to compete. Try to see how much water you can effectively consume during that practice event. You should be well hydrated going into the trial so you’ll need to start hydrating a day or two ahead depending on the intensity and duration of your event. You want all the water you can comfortably consume leading up to, and during your trial event. Comfortably consume means without needing a bathroom break.
Finally, I would encourage you to learn to increase your ability to consume water. If you can process 6 liters, try to increase your threshold to 8…10…12.
And remember, athlete or not, water is critical to all you do. You need the right amount of water to deliver key nutrients and energy molecules throughout your body. The right amount of water in your blood helps to efficiently deliver carbohydrates and electrolytes for optimal performance.
Good question! It’s a question without a single answer. It’s also a widespread problem for both competitors and the general population.
The 3 things I try to leverage with competitors to help them value hydration are:
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.