Focusing on proper hydration is probably “the” most important nutritional strategy an athlete can use in training and competition.
Water makes up 70% of the total body weight from the neck down and 80% from the neck up. Exercise dulls thirst, so plan on drinking before you are thirsty.
It takes a loss of 1% of body weight before your brain signals thirst and by then performance can be decreased by 15 to 20%. For an athlete weighting 120 lbs (54.5 kg), 1% would be equivalent to losing 1.2 lbs (.54kg) of weight in the form of sweat which can easily occur during a hockey game.
Dehydration leads to decreased performance because:
- the body temperature increases leading to overheating = fatigue
- the blood flow becomes more concentrated and impairs the delivery of critical nutrients for energy production and removal of toxins = fatigue
Signs of dehydration:
- check the color and quantity or your urine. It should be clear or pale yellow. If you are taking supplements it will be bright yellow so volume is a better indication of hydration. Athletes should be urinating every 2 to 4 hours.
- thirst, dry mouth, cramping, headaches, dizziness, inability to concentrate and focus, fatigue.
What causes dehydration:
- inadequate daily or exercise hydration and re-hydration
- a diet high in refined and junk food
- caffeinated beverages (coffee, tea, soft drinks), alcohol
ALWAYS CARRY A WATER BOTTLE WITH YOU AT SCHOOL, IN TRANSIT AND AT THE RINK. HYDRATING THROUGHOUT THE DAY WILL IMPROVE YOUR PERFORMANCE AND ACCELERATE RECOVERY.
(Check your Game Winning Nutrition book for more information)
- Step 1: Determine your baseline water requirements with this formula:
- weight in lbs ÷ 2 = “x”, then “x”÷ 8= # of cups or 250 ml required as a baseline/day
- drink throughout the day.
- Step 2: Game time hydration (you need to drink over and above the baseline needs)
- Two hours prior to event, drink a minimum of 2 cups (500ml)
- Sip during practice, game or event
- Re-hydrate after.
- Replace every pound (or .5kg) lost by 2 cups (500ml) or more of water.
- if you realize that you are not drinking enough, train your body to drink by sipping and gradually increasing your quantities over a period of time so that your body can adjust