Are you drinking enough water? If you answered no, you are not alone as more than half of North Americans are not getting the amount of water they need in a day. If you suffer from headaches, constipation, tiredness, muscle cramps, dull, dry skin, or if your urine is a dark yellow colour, this is a sign that you are not drinking enough.
Water is pretty boring. It is colourless and tasteless with no caloric value, but it is the most important element of your diet because it is involved in every function in the body.
The average recommendation for water per day is 2 litres for women and 3 litres for men. This number will change depending on the climate and if you are exercising. Right now I am on an island in Sicily for the summer (I know, poor me right?!) and the temperature here is above 30 degrees celsius every day so I am trying to focus on drinking more to replace what I have lost in sweat. I do this by having one litre of lemon water as soon as I wake up and bring a water bottle with me wherever I go. We have also put up a heavy bag here and when we workout, I make sure that I am drinking an additional litre of fluid after we finish exercising.
When training you need to be in an optimal state of hydration for both your endurance and performance. During exercise, you lose electrolytes which are made up of sodium and potassium. Sodium maintains the fluid in our body, keeping it hydrated while helping muscles to relax. Potassium has a similar function and also aids in the storage of carbohydrates to fuel the muscles. If you sweat a lot during a workout, or train for long periods of time, it is a good idea to add electrolytes to your drink (plus they make your water taste so good!). Sport drinks are what people gravitate to because they contain carbohydrates and electrolytes needed for hydration and energy, but I find that they have a lot of unnecessary ingredients and colouring. Instead, I like electrolyte tablets (I am using them in Italy right now). You can get them at any health food store and most grocery stores and you can throw them in your gym bag to use whenever you need them. Nuun hydration is a great brand and has a variety of flavours as well as specific tablets for sports, immune support, and some with added caffeine. My favourite is Strawberry Lemonade.
Another great drink is coconut water. It is a natural source of electrolytes and what many Muay Thai fighters drink in Thailand because of the extremely hot temperatures. You can also make your own sport drink by using a few simple ingredients.
Maple-Lemon Electrolyte Water Recipe
- 2 cups water, filtered
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice, from about 1/2 lemon
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup, grade B
- 1/4-1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Combine all ingredients in a glass and stir until the salt is dissolved.
If you want to up your hydration and improve your performance try the following recommendations:
- ensure you are well hydrated before you exercise - this means drinking water throughout the day
- replace 80% of the sweat lost during exercise
- drink fluids that have electrolytes if exercise is high intensity, more than 1.5 hours, or in hot a hot climate
- drink at least ½ a litre immediately after exercise
- add fruit juice, electrolytes, or BCAA’s to make your water taste good and to add carbohydrates, sodium and potassium
- continue to drink fluid after exercise until at least 1 litre is consumed
The most important thing to remember is to drink before you feel thirsty and ensure that most of what you drink in a day is water.
I am a lot of things. I am a woman, a school teacher, a registered nutritionist, a fitness enthusiast, a partner, a daughter, a writer, a friend, a chef... But most of all I am a fighter. Yes, I train at Legacy Fight Club, but what I mean by “a fighter” is not just in the literal sense of the word which is “to contend in battle or physical combat”, or, “to engage in boxing”. It is to constantly put forth effort and determination in everything I do. So when I say I have been a fighter all my life, it is true. You can reach me at Michellestone2424@gmail.com for any questions or advice ot Nutrition and Lifestyle.