Hydrate, Or Die…?

(Image courtesy of motifake.com)

This topic is a personal soap-box of mine.  Hydration is SO very important to our daily health, and it seems that folks tend to really underestimate the effects that drinking enough water every day has on your body!

Check out excerpts from this article on hydration  by Marc Kent of Marc Kent Health and Fitness:

Everyone knows that water is good for us but I don’t think people truly understand how essential water is for our health.  Most people don’t know or realize what happens to our body if we don’t take in enough water on a daily basis.

Long-term dehydration can lead to a whole host of problems ranging from:

  • Low back pain
  • Neck pain
  • Angina
  • Headaches
  • Depression
  • High blood pressure
  • Pain
  • High cholesterol
  • Weight gain
  • Asthma
  • Allergies
  • Diabetes

The body’s main priority in any water shortage is protection of the brain. The brain is only 1/50th of the body’s total weight, but receives 18-20% of the body’s blood supply.  And so, the body will pull water away from other areas to ensure the brain gets an adequate supply of blood and water.

 One of the biggest downfalls of modern society is thinking that drinking tea, coffee, colas, alcohol and any other manufactured drinks is a suitable substitute for fresh clean water. The body needs fresh clean water to function and to not provide it on a regular basis can cause the body to become stressed.  If left unchecked for prolonged periods of time, this can lead to a catastrophic failure of bodily systems resulting in disease and death!

It’s true these drinks are “dissolved” in water but they contain things that actually rid the body of its vital water supply as well as vital vitamins and minerals.  And due to either caffeine or the added chemicals to make these beverages taste nice, people are developing a preference for these drinks rather than drinking “boring” water. Even young children are brought up on sugar-loaded drinks instead of water. Is it any wonder that more and more children are overweight and developing adult diseases such as adult on-set diabetes and obesity?


Delving further into the basics of your body’s hydration needs, take a look at excerpts from this article from WaterTribe:

A person in good health requires up to 4 liters of water each day just to carry out normal metabolism.  This fluid is replaced by the fluids we drink and the food we eat during the day.  When extra energy is required more water is consumed to produce that energy.  In addition to normal metabolism, your muscles produce 8 to 10 times more heat when they are working hard than when at rest so you need to cool your machine.  The body will divert blood to the skin and produce sweat which evaporates and cools the blood.  Your core temperature remains stable at 98.6 degrees because your skin temperature might be cooled to about 77 degrees.  Everything is stable and you perform at your best.

Until you get dehydrated.  As sweat is produced your blood becomes thicker and your heart has to beat faster to make up for it.  Less fuel and oxygen is available to your muscles.  Your performance suffers.  If you don’t replace the lost fluids soon, you will become seriously ill.  A loss of only 2% of your body weight is enough to cause initial symptoms.  A loss of 6-8% can cause death.  Consider that a 180 pound man only needs to lose 1.6 liters of water to display symptoms of dehydration.

How to Determine Your Hydration Needs

Hydration needs are different for each person and for each climate.  It can be very difficult to determine these need just by sweat or exertion.  For example someone running an ultra marathon may be sweating buckets but all the sweat is evaporated and their shirt is as dry as the sand.  On the other hand, a sea kayaker in Florida during August may be cruising along without much effort but their shirt is wringing wet.  They are sweating but little to no evaporation is taking place.  Or consider a cross country skier in a very cold climate.  The ambient temperature cools their body, but they loose a lot of water through breathing very dry air.

There is a very simple experiment you can use to determine your hydration needs under any condition.  You should do this a few times during your training sessions so you begin to know your body and its response.

  1. Select a training session that will last for one hour or more.

  2. Weigh yourself buck naked and dry.

  3. Go out and do your training session.  You might want to get dressed first.

  4. Hydrate normally during your training session.

  5. When your training session is over, strip off your sweat-soaked clothing quickly, towel off, and weigh yourself.

  6. Subtract your the new weight from your previous weight to see how much water you lost.

  7. Divide your weight loss by 2.2 to find out how many liters of sweat you lost.

Depending on your exercise level and the weather, you may end up with a net loss of fluid even though you hydrated yourself during the exercise.  This is normal.  Remember that you can sweat faster than you can replace fluids.  If you consumed about one liter per hour and you still lost fluid, you are on the road to heat exhaustion or worse.  It depends on how long you plan to maintain that pace.

Here are some interesting facts that impact how your body deals with heat and exercise intensity. 

  • You can easily loose 1 to 3 liters of sweat per hour on a hot day. 

  • You can lose 1 to 2 grams of salt per liter of sweat.

  • Your body can only absorb about 1 liter of water per hour

  • Water and electrolytes (salts) must be kept in balance

Notice that it is easy to lose more water than you can replace every hour.  This is a fatal formula if you don’t take steps to keep everything in balance! (**Especially given the host of problems which can develop from long-term dehydration that we identified in the list earlier on in this post !!**)

What can you do?  Slow down.  Cool down.  Take a break and rehydrate.  Always, always, always rehydrate when you stop to sleep or after an exercise session. And one more “always:” Always maintain electrolyte balance!

Today’s Workout:

Buy In – Ring Dips 5 x 5 reps, increase intensity each round by reducing resistance or adding weight.

Zone 1 – practice support holds

WOD“Cliff Hangers”

7 Rounds for time:
3 Hang Clean (120/185lbs)
7 Box Jumps (24/30″)

Zone 4 – scale clean to 105/165lbs
Zone 3 – scale clean to 95/135lbs, scale box to 20/24″
Zone 2 – scale clean to 75/115lbs
Zone 1 – scale as needed

Coaches, you may need to do this work out in heats because of the limited boxes.

Cash Out – Tabata L-sit



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