If you want to be at the top of your game, there are millions of things you could do. Visualize success, get more sleep, do yoga, use inversion tables, cold thermogenesis, drink BCAA’s, eat ketogenic, do physiotherapy every day…the list is endless. I mean, you could spend the rest of forever researching how to obtain optimal performance, and you’d likely never have time to implement ALL THE THINGS. Lucky for you, there’s one thing, that’ll make sure you’re in top performing mode: hydration.
Yes, yes, you know that water is important, we’re made of it, blah, blah, blah. Oh, but do you really know why, as an athlete it’s important? Like REALLY important? Well, maybe it’s because your VO2 max can decrease up to 11% when you are dehydrated. Less water in you = less blood to circulate oxygen = less oxygen for muscles = less performance. Dehydrated muscle cells can’t properly metabolize the bits they need to repair themselves. Water is part of the lubrication system that keeps your joints/tissues/nerves/etc. sliding around each other properly, which means dehydration leads to a limited range of motion when tissues get gummed up together. Improper electrolyte balance from dehydration slows down the chemical reactions that keep your body moving, stealing away precious, precious energy. Any of those things sound good to you? No, didn’t think so.
Staying properly hydrated is one of THE easiest ways to make sure your body is running at it’s best. Here’s how:
- Drink 2-3 liters per day. For serious.
- Don’t just drink water. Drink pure water when you eat. Add a pinch of salt or some electrolyte powder if you’re drinking sans food. For serious.
You might think ‘electrolytes’ are just a catch phrase to sell sugary sports drinks, but they are essential to keeping you hydrated properly. There’s a balance your body needs to maintain (see electrochemical processes above) and dehydration isn’t the only thing to throw it off. Exhibit B: hypo-hydration, where you slam TONS of water but your body doesn’t absorb it. Ever up your water intake, have to pee like crazy, but still feel thirsty? You’re not crazy, just not properly hydrating. Add a pinch of salt to your water bottle each time you fill it, and you’re good to go. Or go ahead and grab some non-sugary electrolytes like Nuun tablets – they taste delicious, and research says more flavour means you’re more likely to drink up!