A Student Athlete's Guide to Hydration
Hydration extends beyond just drinking water. As a student athlete, your body loses valuable electrolytes through sweat during intensive training and games. This can significantly affect your performance and recovery. The average athlete loses around 1 to 1.5 liters of sweat per hour during intense exercise1. When you sweat, you lose both water and electrolytes. Electrolytes is just another word for certain minerals in our diet. Here's how you can replenish your electrolytes and maintain peak performance:
Sodium is key for fluid balance and nerve function. During an hour-long intense practice, you could lose 1,000-2,250 mg of sodium. To replenish, consider post-workout snacks like a beef jerky (~600mg sodium) or rehydration solutions like sports drinks which contain ~250mg for every 16oz (2 cups).
Chloride works alongside sodium to maintain fluid balance. You could lose 800-1,950 mg during a one-hour practice3. As chloride is usually coupled with sodium in our diet (sodium-chloride is table salt), replenishing your sodium levels will naturally restore your chloride levels too.
Potassium aids in balancing the water inside and outside of our cells while also playing a key role in how our heart functions2. A one-hour practice might result in a loss of 200-600 mg of potassium. To counteract this, snack on a banana (~450mg potassium) or a large orange (~175mg potassium).
Hydration and electrolyte management should be tailored to the duration and intensity of your training. Shorter training sessions (30 minutes or less) may lead to manageable electrolyte loss which can be replenished in a post-training meal (don’t forget food contains electrolytes!). However, for longer sessions (1.5, 2, 3 hours), it's crucial to replenish lost electrolytes during training.
For instance, if you're training intensively for two hours (practice and then the weight room) and neglect electrolyte replenishment after the first hour, your performance in the weight room might falter. Applying a sensible approach to your hydration strategy is essential. Armed with this knowledge, you can create a practical, results-driven hydration plan - incorporate it into your regimen and excel!