Hydrating During a Heatwave

Kendall Coleman at the 2021 NCAA Championships (Photo/Tony Rotundo;

Rachel Gallardo is a Dietetic Intern at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina. Rachel will be graduating with her Master's in Nutrition in August and will sit for the Registered Dietitian exam following graduation. She has a background in sports and performance nutrition from working with Appalachian State's Performance Nutrition program and completing her Master's research project, NUTRITION AND BODY COMPOSITION CHANGES ACROSS A COMPETITIVE SEASON IN COLLEGIATE WRESTLERS.

Staying hydrated is important during times of extreme heat. Becoming overheated and dehydrated may result in heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Staying hydrated is one of the best ways to prevent these from happening!

Hydration is more than drinking water, but keeping mineral balance as well. Our sweat is made of sodium, chloride, potassium, magnesium, and calcium. Sodium, chloride, and potassium aid in regulating and maintaining fluid balance while magnesium and calcium are essential in optimal muscle performance as well as energy metabolism.

Benefits of hydration include:

- Assisting the body in thermoregulation via sweat
- Providing lubrication to joints
- Is the medium of transportation of the blood and across cells
- Our muscles are 75% water, better hydration = better muscle function

How can I tell if I'm under-hydrated?

- Headache post-training with high sweat rate or low fluid intake during activity
- Dizziness, lightheadedness, fatigue, moodiness/irritability, thirst
- Heat intolerance during exercise
- Decreased endurance performance
- Dark, low volume of urine
- Poor appetite, nausea, cramps

What can cause under-hydration?

- High volume of sweat
- Intense, long workouts
- Heavy workouts in cold weather with multiple layers
- Hot and humid conditions

How can I assess my hydration?

- Use WUT: if two or more are present, you may be dehydrated
- Weight: maintain body weight within 1%
- Urine: darkened first morning urine or reduced daily frequency
- Thirst: dry mouth or craving fluids

What are some ways I can stay hydrated?

- Pre-training:

Salted watery fruits and veggies: apples, watermelon, tomatoes

Water with a dash of salt: 1/16th Tablespoon per 20 fl oz.

Hyperhydration beverage such as Liquid IV or high sodium broth/soup

- During training:

Drink appropriately a sports drink that contains approximately 7 - 9.5 g sugars, 150 -
190 mg sodium, 60 - 75 mg potassium per 8 fl oz. (ex. Gatorade/Powerade Zero)

- Post-training:

Urine should be clear 2-3 hours post-activity

Protein + carbohydrate-based recovery smoothie

Low-carbohydrate electrolyte drink (ex. Gatorade/Powerade Zero)


Salted watery fruits and veggies


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