How to Stay Hydrated

Must See Nutrition Videos

Staying hydrated is critical for sustaining strength, speed and endurance. Too often, athletes sabotage their performance by not drinking enough fluids during the day or during a game. Extreme dehydration can lead to serious medical issues, which could land you on the bench for an extended period of time.

To satisfy your body’s fluid needs, follow these daily hydration guidelines:

During the Day

Drinking water consistently throughout the day helps prevent dehydration during a practice, game or training session later in the day. It keeps your body functioning at its peak level and avoids the need to consume large amounts of fluid to make up for a previous shortage.

As a general guideline, drink one ounce of water for every pound of bodyweight. However, hydration requirements vary for each athlete, even depending on the day, so it’s important to be mindful of your own hydration status. The best way to determine if you're drinking enough is to look at the color of your urine. Clear is hydrated. Dark is dehydrated. [Learn how to asses your hydration status.]

Pre-Activity

Hydration before activity ensures that you've topped off your tank. On the other hand, don't drink so much that your stomach has water sloshing around while you are trying to give your max effort. Cheryl Zonkowski, University of Florida director of sports nutrition, provides these guidelines for pre-activity hydration:

  • Two hours prior – 20 oz.
  • One hour prior – 16 oz.
  • 15 minutes prior – 8 oz.

During Activity

You constantly lose water and minerals, such as sodium and potassium, through sweating. This can result in performance-degrading dehydration or an electrolyte imbalance that reduces your muscles’ ability to contract. Studies show that performance begins to decrease with as little as two percent bodyweight lost to dehydration.

To counter this, experts recommend that athletes consume sports drinks, like Gatorade, which are specifically designed to supply a combination of fluid and electrolytes. Zonkowski suggests drinking eight to 12 ounces every 15 to 20 minutes throughout training, practice or a game.

As an added benefit, fluids work to keep you cool, which is important for an athlete working hard in the heat of the sun or when wearing full equipment.

Post-Activity

Even if you stick to these hydration guidelines, you might have consumed less fluid than you expelled through sweat. To complete your daily hydration, Zonkowski recommends weighing yourself (in as little clothing as possible) before and after activity, then drinking 24 ounces of fluid for every pound lost.

For a deeper dive into the subject, click on the following links

Formulating a Summer Hydration Plan
Hydration Guidelines
Hydration for the Heat
All-Day Hydration Game Plan

Andy Haley
- Andy Haley is the Performance Director at STACK. A certified strength and conditioning specialist (CSCS), he received his bachelor’s degree in exercise science from Miami...
Andy Haley
- Andy Haley is the Performance Director at STACK. A certified strength and conditioning specialist (CSCS), he received his bachelor’s degree in exercise science from Miami...
Must See
Margus Hunt Benches 385 Pounds for Five Reps Margus Hunt Benches 385 Pounds for Five Reps
Views: 20,517,248
RGIII Talks About His Legacy RGIII Talks About His Legacy
Views: 25,855,501
Perfect Dwyane Wade's Signature Euro Step Perfect Dwyane Wade's Signature Euro Step
Views: 1,309,369

Featured Videos

Real Workouts: Randall Cobb Real Workouts: Randall Cobb Views: 20,496
Greg Nixon's Full-Body Dumbbell Circuit Greg Nixon's Full-Body Dumbbell Circuit Views: 317,829
SEALFIT: Pushing the Limits of What Athletes Are Capable Of SEALFIT: Pushing the Limits of What Athletes Are Capable Of Views: 58,814
Load More

Resources

STACK Fitness

Everything you need to be fitter than ever

STACK Conditioning

Sport-specific conditioning programs

Coaches and Trainers

Tips and advice for coaches and trainers

Magazine

Latest issues of STACK Magazine

STACK 4W

Women's sports workout, nutrition and lifestyle advice

Gamer

Gaming, entertainment and tech news

Basic Training

Military-style training for athletes

News

Find the latest news relevant to athletes

Most Popular Videos

Derrick Rose Explains How He Stays Positive Derrick Rose Explains How He Stays Positive
Views: 6,105,983
Allyson Felix Explains How To Choose a Coach Allyson Felix Explains How To Choose a Coach
Views: 8,690,942
Dustin Pedroia on Training Dustin Pedroia on Training
Views: 10,919,972
Charging Ground Balls With Skip Schumaker Charging Ground Balls With Skip Schumaker
Views: 29,938
Yoga for Athletes: Crow Pose Yoga for Athletes: Crow Pose
Views: 3,539,467

Load More
More Cool Stuff You'll Like
Beat the Heat During Training With These Hydration Strategies

Beat the Heat During Training With These Hydration Strategies

Not Just for Drinking: Use Water to Avoid Getting Sick

Not Just for Drinking: Use Water to Avoid Getting Sick

Ask the Experts: Am I Drinking Too Much Water?

Ask the Experts: Am I Drinking Too Much Water?

Benefits of Coconut Water for Athletes

Benefits of Coconut Water for Athletes

6 Effective Drinks for Athletes

6 Effective Drinks for Athletes

How to Schedule Your Hydration

How to Schedule Your Hydration

BPA: Health Hazard In Your Water Bottle?

BPA: Health Hazard In Your Water Bottle?

Selecting Fluids to Enhance Soccer Performance

Selecting Fluids to Enhance Soccer Performance

Too Much of a Good Thing: The Danger of Over-Hydration

Too Much of a Good Thing: The Danger of Over-Hydration

Beat the Heat: Hydrate with Lemon

Beat the Heat: Hydrate with Lemon

How to Stay Hydrated When It's Hot and Humid

How to Stay Hydrated When It's Hot and Humid

Hydration Guidelines for Volleyball Players

Hydration Guidelines for Volleyball Players

Compare 3 of the Most Popular Hydration Backpacks

Compare 3 of the Most Popular Hydration Backpacks

Will This Edible Blob Replace Your Water Bottle?

Will This Edible Blob Replace Your Water Bottle?

Hydration Inside the Race Car

Hydration Inside the Race Car

Weight Loss and Other Benefits of Staying Hydrated

Weight Loss and Other Benefits of Staying Hydrated

This Ebola Treatment Sounds a Lot Like Your Sports Drink

This Ebola Treatment Sounds a Lot Like Your Sports Drink

How to Hydrate With Food

How to Hydrate With Food

Staying Hydrated for Basketball

Staying Hydrated for Basketball

Winter Dehydration: Are You At Risk?

Winter Dehydration: Are You At Risk?

7 Rules for Keeping Hydrated

7 Rules for Keeping Hydrated

Cutting Weight for Wrestling: 3-Step Sodium Strategy

Cutting Weight for Wrestling: 3-Step Sodium Strategy

Surviving Football Hell Week: A Nutrition Guide

Surviving Football Hell Week: A Nutrition Guide

Elements of Proper Hydration

Elements of Proper Hydration

Hydrate With...Pickle Juice?

Hydrate With...Pickle Juice?

Opinion: Your Post-Workout Recovery Nutrition Should Be Liquid

Opinion: Your Post-Workout Recovery Nutrition Should Be Liquid

Why Pedialyte Is a Good Source of Hydration for Hockey Players

Why Pedialyte Is a Good Source of Hydration for Hockey Players

Electrolytes Explained

Electrolytes Explained

I Hate Water: Healthy Alternatives to H2O

I Hate Water: Healthy Alternatives to H2O

4 Hydration Rules for Football Players

4 Hydration Rules for Football Players

Living the #JugLife: Javale McGee Wants You to Drink More Water

Living the #JugLife: Javale McGee Wants You to Drink More Water

Hydration: Follow the Rules That Help Your Performance

Hydration: Follow the Rules That Help Your Performance

Powerade Removes Controversial Ingredient

Powerade Removes Controversial Ingredient

Healthy Hydration for Hockey Players

Healthy Hydration for Hockey Players

An Athlete's Guide to Late-Summer Dehydration

An Athlete's Guide to Late-Summer Dehydration

Healthy Hydration for Track & Field Athletes

Healthy Hydration for Track & Field Athletes

New Gatorade Montage Counts 50 Years of Fueling Athletes

New Gatorade Montage Counts 50 Years of Fueling Athletes

How Much Water Should Athletes Drink Every Day?

How Much Water Should Athletes Drink Every Day?

Best Pre-Workout Energy Drink? You May Be Pleasantly Surprised!

Best Pre-Workout Energy Drink? You May Be Pleasantly Surprised!

Drinking for Sport Performance

Drinking for Sport Performance

Avoid Dehydration During Your Next Hockey Game

Avoid Dehydration During Your Next Hockey Game

12 Must-Know Hydration Rules for Athletes

12 Must-Know Hydration Rules for Athletes

4 Ways to Carry Backpack Hydration

4 Ways to Carry Backpack Hydration

Chocolate Milk after Workouts

Chocolate Milk after Workouts

YardBarker