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Fit 4 Ever

Proper Hydration for Peak Performance
By Jimmy Page
Executive Directory, FCA Fitness

 Jesus answered, “If you knew the gift of God, and who is saying to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would ask Him, and He would give you living water.”
– John 4:10


It should come as no surprise that Jesus knows how important water is to life; that’s the way He designed it. And in this Scripture, Jesus tells the Samaritan woman everything she needs to find salvation. Living water represents eternal life. Jesus has it, you must ask Him for it, and it is a gift to be received.

It is amazing how important water is for sports performance, as well. Since the human body is 60-70 percent water, our need to be properly hydrated before, during and after training or competing is crucial.

Dehydration has been shown to impair not only physical performance (speed, power, agility and endurance), but also mental function, including focus and decision-making capabilities.

Contrary to what some “old-school” coaches believe, water (or sports drinks) should not be withheld as a form of punishment or to develop toughness in an athlete. In fact, regular breaks (every 15-20 minutes) for proper hydration are essential to the health of the athletes and their on-the-field performances.

During intense training or competition, an athlete will lose fluids and electrolytes primarily through sweat. An athlete also burns carbohydrates (glycogen) stored in the muscle for energy. As this source is depleted, you increasingly rely on blood sugar for energy. While water effectively replaces the fluids lost, it does not replace critical electrolytes and calories for energy.

Even though water is the best choice before, the right sports drinks are superior to water during and after training or competition based on the following reasons.

  1. They give your muscles an added source of fuel and help you maintain normal blood sugar levels.
  2. They give your brain enough fuel to maintain focus and concentration.
  3. They often contain electrolytes that help athletes avoid muscle cramping, heat stress and fatigue while boosting fluid absorption.
  4. They can help to replenish muscle glycogen stores to prepare you for your next training session.

Popular Sports Drinks (per 8-ounce serving)
Brand
Calories
Carbohydrates
Sodium
Potassium
Gatorade
50
14
110
30
PowerAde
70
19
53
32
CytoMax
80
20
100
110
Accelerade
113
21
190
65
Propel
10
2
-
-

Sodas and juices don’t work well for fluid replacement because their high carbohydrate concentration slows fluid absorption.

The best sports drinks to consume during and after training or competition provide 12-20 grams of carbohydrates (50–80 calories) and have the correct ratio of sodium to potassium (approx. 4:1) per 8-ounce serving.

What is the best way to properly hydrate for peak performance? Try these tips:

• Drink water throughout the day.
• Drink 16 ounces of water two hours before activity and another eight ounces 20 minutes before
   activity.
• Drink four ounces of the right sports drink every 15–20 minutes during training or competition.
• Drink an additional 16 ounces after for every pound lost during activity. Remember, staying hydrated
   and energized could change your health and performance, both on and off the field.


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