This week's tip:
Keep the Fluids Flowing to Maximize Your Workouts
By Shannon Valerio
Bobble water filtering bottle
Are you looking for an easy way to get more out of your training?
Could be that all you need to do is drink more water.
If you keep yourself properly hydrated your workouts, you’ll feel better, perform better and recover faster.
The key to hydration, of course, is water.
Our bodies are always using, and losing, water — on average, about 10 cups a day. But when we exercise, our water loss spikes, largely through perspiration. During vigorous exercise, we lose about 100 mm (3.3 fluid ounces) of water every 15 minutes. That’s about a cup of water every half an hour.
If we don’t replenish the water, we quickly become dehydrated and our performance declines … and later worse things happen.
So, it’s key to keep hydrating throughout your workouts!
Typically, you should drink about 100mm of water every 15 minutes. But the amount varies from person to person and increases with the air temperature and intensity of your workout.
You can keep hydrated with the help of a water bottle or Camelbak. And instead of drinking plain water, you might want to fill your bottle with a sports drink. That way you'll also be replenishing your carbohydrates and electrolytes (sodium and potassium).
Recent research has found that consuming carbs during exericse can boost endurance by 20 to 25 percent, even if you are training for an hour or less.
And if you want to take it one step further, try a sports drink with protein. Studies show that adding protein to the mix can boost performance by as much as 40 percent.
How to pick a sports drink?
There are lots of sports drinks on the market. And what works for one person doesn’t necessary work for the next. So you’ll have to try various brands to find what works best for you.
Start with a drink that provides electrolytes (sodium and potassium) and carbs in the form of easily digested sugar, such as sucrose. Avoid drinks with high-fructose corn syrup — that stuff is poison! And skip drinks that claim to be low in calories — if they don’t have calories, they don't have carbs.
My favorite sports drink is the tried-and-true Gatorade. It works and it’s cheap.
If you want something with protein, try Accelerade, which has a 4:1 ratio of carbs to protein. It’s not cheap, and it doesn’t agree with everyone. So try a sample before you buy a full jar.
Some skaters say get stomach cramps if they drink water while training. So they do without.
But this can be dangerous! Dehydration can lead to bad stuff like heat exhaustion.
Rather than do without water, try working it into your training slowly. Start with one sip and build up. In this way, most anyone can keep properly hydrated.
Once you can drink water without cramps, add some sports drink to the water. Then increase the amount of sports drink until you can handle it full strength.
Whatever you do, don’t suddenly switch to sport drinks or protein drinks on race day. Your stomach will be jittery enough without adding another surprise.
Shannon Valerio has been a competitive athlete since she was 8 years old and has competed on both quads and inlines and in short track speed skating, ice hockey and road cycling. An accomplished Master’s inline speed skater, she has 14 national titles in indoors, banked track and road and holds two national records. She has also placed in several marathons and is now both skating and cycling with the Riivo/Salt Creek Consultants Team. She is a certified strength and conditioning coach and personal trainer for Valerio Training, a company she founded in 2009.
• Valerio Training web site