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, CSCS, is a certified strength and conditioning specialist, New Jersey-licensed massage therapist, and a health/fitness writer. He currently serves as Associate Health and...
Jim Carpentier
- Jim Carpentier, CSCS, is a certified strength and conditioning specialist, New Jersey-licensed massage therapist, and a health/fitness writer. He currently serves as Associate Health and...

Featured Videos

Tim Tebow's NFL Off-Season Workout Tim Tebow's NFL Off-Season Workout Views: 153,019
Path to the Pros 2015: Trae Waynes Path to the Pros 2015: Trae Waynes Views: 80,757
Path to the Pros 2015: Marcus Mariota Path to the Pros 2015: Marcus Mariota Views: 1,271,129
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

Peyton Manning Dumbbell Bench With 80+ Pounds Peyton Manning Dumbbell Bench With 80+ Pounds
Views: 43,718,086
Drew Brees Will Not Be Denied Drew Brees Will Not Be Denied
Views: 12,170,372
Colin Kaepernick's Core Workout Colin Kaepernick's Core Workout
Views: 896,683
Robert Griffin III Pocket Presence QB Drill Robert Griffin III Pocket Presence QB Drill
Views: 6,866,292
Ohio State Football Open Field Plyo Drill Ohio State Football Open Field Plyo Drill
Views: 9,501,437

Load More
More Cool Stuff You'll Like
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

6 Effective Drinks for Athletes

6 Effective Drinks for Athletes

INFOGRAPHIC: 5 Hacks to Perform Better in the Heat

INFOGRAPHIC: 5 Hacks to Perform Better in the Heat

Hydration: Follow the Rules That Help Your Performance

Hydration: Follow the Rules That Help Your Performance

Hydration Inside the Race Car

Hydration Inside the Race Car

Avoid Dehydration During Your Next Hockey Game

Avoid Dehydration During Your Next Hockey Game

Cutting Weight for Wrestling: 3-Step Sodium Strategy

Cutting Weight for Wrestling: 3-Step Sodium Strategy

Beat the Heat During Training With These Hydration Strategies

Beat the Heat During Training With These Hydration Strategies

Powerade Removes Controversial Ingredient

Powerade Removes Controversial Ingredient

New Gatorade Montage Counts 50 Years of Fueling Athletes

New Gatorade Montage Counts 50 Years of Fueling Athletes

4 Hydration Rules for Football Players

4 Hydration Rules for Football Players

I Hate Water: Healthy Alternatives to H2O

I Hate Water: Healthy Alternatives to H2O

Why Pedialyte Is a Good Source of Hydration for Hockey Players

Why Pedialyte Is a Good Source of Hydration for Hockey Players

Hydration Guidelines for Volleyball Players

Hydration Guidelines for Volleyball Players

4 Ways to Carry Backpack Hydration

4 Ways to Carry Backpack Hydration

How Dehydration Impairs Sports Performance

How Dehydration Impairs Sports Performance

Healthy Hydration for Hockey Players

Healthy Hydration for Hockey Players

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

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

Staying Hydrated for Basketball

Staying Hydrated for Basketball

Ask the Experts: Am I Drinking Too Much Water?

Ask the Experts: Am I Drinking Too Much Water?

Compare 3 of the Most Popular Hydration Backpacks

Compare 3 of the Most Popular Hydration Backpacks

Does Coffee Dehydrate You?

Does Coffee Dehydrate You?

Individualize Your Hydration Schedule

Individualize Your Hydration Schedule

Winter Dehydration: Are You At Risk?

Winter Dehydration: Are You At Risk?

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

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

Surviving Football Hell Week: A Nutrition Guide

Surviving Football Hell Week: A Nutrition Guide

Will This Edible Blob Replace Your Water Bottle?

Will This Edible Blob Replace Your Water Bottle?

7 Rules for Keeping Hydrated

7 Rules for Keeping Hydrated

This Ebola Treatment Sounds a Lot Like Your Sports Drink

This Ebola Treatment Sounds a Lot Like Your Sports Drink

Electrolytes Explained

Electrolytes Explained

How to Hydrate With Food

How to Hydrate With Food

INFOGRAPHIC: 5 Hydration Rules You Need to Know

INFOGRAPHIC: 5 Hydration Rules You Need to Know

12 Must-Know Hydration Rules for Athletes

12 Must-Know Hydration Rules for Athletes

BPA: Health Hazard In Your Water Bottle?

BPA: Health Hazard In Your Water Bottle?

How to Schedule Your Hydration

How to Schedule Your Hydration

Water or Sports Drinks: What to Drink When?

Water or Sports Drinks: What to Drink When?

11 Easy Tricks for Drinking More Water

11 Easy Tricks for Drinking More Water

Think Before You Gulp: Sports Drinks

Think Before You Gulp: Sports Drinks

Opinion: Your Post-Workout Recovery Nutrition Should Be Liquid

Opinion: Your Post-Workout Recovery Nutrition Should Be Liquid

How Much Water Should Athletes Drink Every Day?

How Much Water Should Athletes Drink Every Day?

An Athlete's Guide to Late-Summer Dehydration

An Athlete's Guide to Late-Summer Dehydration

Beat the Heat and Dominate Two-a-Days

Beat the Heat and Dominate Two-a-Days

Tips to Avoid Dehydration

Tips to Avoid Dehydration

How to Hydrate Your Body

How to Hydrate Your Body

YardBarker