Hydration Facts Athletes Need to Know | STACK

Become a Better Athlete. Sign Up for our FREE Newsletter.

Hydration Facts Athletes Need to Know

April 12, 2012

Must See Nutrition Videos

If you want to play your best and get the most out of your workouts, you must be sufficiently hydrated. If you ignore your hydration needs, your performance will suffer from fatigue, nausea, cramps or worse.

To put this in perspective, think about a car engine. To run smoothly, it must have a sufficient supply of oil. If the oil supply is low, the engine's performance will decline. It could break down or even be damaged beyond repair. Do you want this to happen to your body? I didn't think so.

To stay hydrated and keep your athletic performance at its peak, arm yourself with these hydration facts:

Hydration Facts

  • Your muscles are 75 percent water. If you're dehydrated, your muscles won't be able to contract at their peak, which negatively impacts your strength and speed
  • Adequate hydration gives your muscles a much fuller appearance
  • Just one percent dehydration signals thirst; two percent dehydration can impede sports performance; four percent dehydration causes fatigue, weakness and mental decline; and higher levels of dehydration can land you in the hospital
  • Water transports oxygen and nutrients throughout the body
  • Water helps regulate body temperature and deters heat sickness when you exercise in hot and humid weather
  • It is possible to be overhydrated. Water intoxication is rare, but it can occur if you are exercising for extended periods of time—like running a marathon—and drinking only water without replenishing electrolytes. Your body's electrolyte levels become so diluted that your muscles cease to function
  • You can gauge hydration by checking your urine color. Pale or colorless urine usually indicates ample hydration; light to bright yellow urine means more fluid intake is necessary
  • A general guideline for minimum daily water requirements for teens and adults weighing more than 100 pounds is to divide body weight in half to derive the number of ounces you should drink each day (e.g., 140 pounds = 70 ounces of water)

I recommend athletes primarily drink water and chocolate milk (a great recovery drink) to satisfy their hydration needs. Of the two options, water is the more convenient choice. It is readily available and won't spoil on the field when left out for extended periods of time. However, chocolate milk is also an excellent source of hydration and provides other benefits, which I will cover in a future article.

Photo:  toledoblade.com

Jim Carpentier
- Jim Carpentier is a certified strength and conditioning specialist, New Jersey-licensed massage therapist and a health/fitness writer. He currently serves as associate health and wellness...
Jim Carpentier
- Jim Carpentier is a certified strength and conditioning specialist, New Jersey-licensed massage therapist and a health/fitness writer. He currently serves as associate health and wellness...
Must See
Derrick Rose Explains How He Stays Positive
Views: 4,379,603
Roy Hibbert 540 lbs Deadlift
Views: 1,543,807
RGIII Talks About His Legacy
Views: 20,340,071

Featured Videos

Quest for the Ring: University of Kentucky Views: 147,463
Add Core Power for Basketball With Damian Lillard's Med Ball Throws Views: 4,254,658
Path to the Pros 2015: The Journey Begins Views: 23,946
Load More


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


Latest issues of STACK Magazine


Women's sports workout, nutrition and lifestyle advice


Gaming, entertainment and tech news

Basic Training

Military-style training for athletes


Find the latest news relevant to athletes

More Cool Stuff You'll Like

Cutting Weight for Wrestling: 3-Step Sodium Strategy

Moral of the story: Total sodium intake is not as important as relative sodium intake when it comes to manipulating wrestling weight. Sodium is...

This Ebola Treatment Sounds a Lot Like Your Sports Drink

How to Schedule Your Hydration

Drinking for Sport Performance

Hydrate With...Pickle Juice?

Why Pedialyte Is a Good Source of Hydration for Hockey Players

Healthy Hydration for Track & Field Athletes

Hydration Guidelines for Volleyball Players

Staying Hydrated for Basketball

Powerade Removes Controversial Ingredient

Weight Loss and Other Benefits of Staying Hydrated

How to Hydrate With Food

Healthy Hydration for Hockey Players

Winter Dehydration: Are You At Risk?

How Much Water Should Athletes Drink Every Day?

Electrolytes Explained

7 Rules for Keeping Hydrated

Opinion: Your Post-Workout Recovery Nutrition Should Be Liquid

4 Hydration Rules for Football Players

An Athlete's Guide to Late-Summer Dehydration

Compare 3 of the Most Popular Hydration Backpacks

Avoid Dehydration During Your Next Hockey Game

6 Effective Drinks for Athletes

Beat the Heat: Hydrate with Lemon

Will This Edible Blob Replace Your Water Bottle?

Surviving Football Hell Week: A Nutrition Guide

Beat the Heat During Training With These Hydration Strategies

Chocolate Milk after Workouts

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

I Hate Water: Healthy Alternatives to H2O

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

Selecting Fluids to Enhance Soccer Performance

BPA: Health Hazard In Your Water Bottle?

Hydration: Follow the Rules That Help Your Performance

12 Must-Know Hydration Rules for Athletes

4 Ways to Carry Backpack Hydration

Benefits of Coconut Water for Athletes

Not Just for Drinking: Use Water to Avoid Getting Sick

How to Stay Hydrated When It's Hot and Humid

New Gatorade Montage Counts 50 Years of Fueling Athletes

Ask the Experts: Am I Drinking Too Much Water?

Elements of Proper Hydration

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

Hydration Inside the Race Car