Preparing for Two-a-Days: Strategies for Nutrition and Hydration

August 5, 2012 | Andrea Sper

Must See Football Videos

Two-a-days have long been favored by high school and college football coaches to get their rosters in shape. Professional athletes in all sports use them as a standard feature of pre-season training.

Obviously, the skill level of amateur and professional athletes is vastly different, but their approaches to multiple-day workouts have much in common. For example, proper nutrition and hydration for two-a-days should always be a priority, both to boost performance and to prevent heat-related illness.

Initially, two-a-days became popular among old-guard high school coaches as a way to toughen up athletes by working them hard with limited water breaks. When that strategy began leading to deaths caused by dehydration and overexertion, it became less and less the norm.

Reducing the Risk of Heat-Related Illness

New research proving that fully hydrated athletes outperform others has led coaches to virtually eliminate the practice of limiting water intake. According to a joint position statement issued by the American Dietetic Association (ADA), Dietitians of Canada and the American College of Sports Medicine, optimal nutrition and hydration not only enhance athletic performance but aid in recovery as well.

"The major concern with athletes that practice multiple times a day is heat-related illness and dehydration due to the high summer heat and humidity," said American Council on Exercise (ACE) senior consultant Dr. Natalie Digate Muth. "Athletes need to plan their two-a-days nutrition and hydration appropriately for optimal performance."

Embracing Smart Hydration and Nutrient Strategies

Smart hydration doesn't necessarily mean loading up on water. Although water is the best fluid replenisher for most individuals, sports drinks help replace electrolytes lost during high-intensity exercise, especially when it exceeds 45 to 60 minutes.

According to the ADA position statement, "Sports beverages containing carbohydrates and electrolytes may be consumed before, during and after exercise to help maintain blood glucose concentration, provide fuel for muscles, and decrease risk of dehydration and hyponatremia."

Couple adequate hydration with smart nutrition to maximize the benefits of two-a-days.

"The positive effect of that type of training occurs when several different entities come together—the exercise itself, appropriate recovery time, and proper fuel and nutrients," said ACE exercise physiologist Dr. Mark P. Kelly. "Adequate fuel and nutrients means a combination of macronutrients (fats, carbohydrates and proteins) and [other] nutrients (vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals) to rebuild tissues and enzymes broken down during practice and enhance enzyme production to improve performance."

According to Muth, athletes should consume a high-carb snack (about 0.5 grams per pound of bodyweight) within 30 minutes of exercise, and every two hours thereafter for four to six hours, to help replenish glycogen stores.

Getting Adequate Recovery

Finally, optimal two-a-days nutrition and hydration strategies should be bookended by adequate rest and recovery.

As a general rule, the harder the workout, the longer the rest or recovery should be. Professional organizations such as the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend at least two hours between two-a-day practices in hot or humid weather to allow for sufficient recovery and rehydration among adolescents.

Recovery can also mean eating plenty of foods loaded with vitamins and minerals, and muscle therapy in the form of massage, myofascial release with a foam roller, or gentle static and dynamic stretching before and after sleep.

Athletes should never underestimate the power of sleep. Not only does it lower cortisol, which can inhibit testosterone release and production; it also helps with the secretion of growth hormone, another critical instrument in the anabolic rebuilding response in the body.

Photo:  af.mil

Topics: FOOTBALL
ACE
- The American Council on Exercise® (ACE) is the world’s largest nonprofit fitness certification organization, dedicated to providing education that helps individuals live their most fit...
ACE
- The American Council on Exercise® (ACE) is the world’s largest nonprofit fitness certification organization, dedicated to providing education that helps individuals live their most fit...

Featured Videos

Tim Tebow's NFL Off-Season Workout Tim Tebow's NFL Off-Season Workout Views: 152,523
Path to the Pros 2015: Trae Waynes Path to the Pros 2015: Trae Waynes Views: 80,325
Path to the Pros 2015: Marcus Mariota Path to the Pros 2015: Marcus Mariota Views: 1,267,361
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: 43,450,145
Drew Brees Will Not Be Denied Drew Brees Will Not Be Denied
Views: 12,117,693
Colin Kaepernick's Core Workout Colin Kaepernick's Core Workout
Views: 895,904
Robert Griffin III Pocket Presence QB Drill Robert Griffin III Pocket Presence QB Drill
Views: 6,866,240
Ohio State Football Open Field Plyo Drill Ohio State Football Open Field Plyo Drill
Views: 9,501,255

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

How to Hydrate Your Body

How to Hydrate Your Body

Staying Hydrated for Basketball

Staying Hydrated for Basketball

How to Hydrate With Food

How to Hydrate With Food

4 Ways to Carry Backpack Hydration

4 Ways to Carry Backpack Hydration

I Hate Water: Healthy Alternatives to H2O

I Hate Water: Healthy Alternatives to H2O

Hydration Inside the Race Car

Hydration Inside the Race Car

New Gatorade Montage Counts 50 Years of Fueling Athletes

New Gatorade Montage Counts 50 Years of Fueling Athletes

INFOGRAPHIC: 5 Hydration Rules You Need to Know

INFOGRAPHIC: 5 Hydration Rules You Need to Know

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

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

Beat the Heat and Dominate Two-a-Days

Beat the Heat and Dominate Two-a-Days

7 Rules for Keeping Hydrated

7 Rules for Keeping Hydrated

Powerade Removes Controversial Ingredient

Powerade Removes Controversial Ingredient

Ask the Experts: Am I Drinking Too Much Water?

Ask the Experts: Am I Drinking Too Much Water?

How to Schedule Your Hydration

How to Schedule Your Hydration

Hydration: Follow the Rules That Help Your Performance

Hydration: Follow the Rules That Help Your Performance

Hydration Guidelines for Volleyball Players

Hydration Guidelines for Volleyball Players

Healthy Hydration for Hockey Players

Healthy Hydration for Hockey Players

Will This Edible Blob Replace Your Water Bottle?

Will This Edible Blob Replace Your Water Bottle?

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

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

Cutting Weight for Wrestling: 3-Step Sodium Strategy

Cutting Weight for Wrestling: 3-Step Sodium Strategy

11 Easy Tricks for Drinking More Water

11 Easy Tricks for Drinking More Water

INFOGRAPHIC: 5 Hacks to Perform Better in the Heat

INFOGRAPHIC: 5 Hacks to Perform Better in the Heat

An Athlete's Guide to Late-Summer Dehydration

An Athlete's Guide to Late-Summer Dehydration

4 Hydration Rules for Football Players

4 Hydration Rules for Football Players

Does Coffee Dehydrate You?

Does Coffee Dehydrate You?

This Ebola Treatment Sounds a Lot Like Your Sports Drink

This Ebola Treatment Sounds a Lot Like Your Sports Drink

Compare 3 of the Most Popular Hydration Backpacks

Compare 3 of the Most Popular Hydration Backpacks

BPA: Health Hazard In Your Water Bottle?

BPA: Health Hazard In Your Water Bottle?

How Much Water Should Athletes Drink Every Day?

How Much Water Should Athletes Drink Every Day?

Winter Dehydration: Are You At Risk?

Winter Dehydration: Are You At Risk?

How Dehydration Impairs Sports Performance

How Dehydration Impairs Sports Performance

6 Effective Drinks for Athletes

6 Effective Drinks for Athletes

Avoid Dehydration During Your Next Hockey Game

Avoid Dehydration During Your Next Hockey Game

Think Before You Gulp: Sports Drinks

Think Before You Gulp: Sports Drinks

Water or Sports Drinks: What to Drink When?

Water or Sports Drinks: What to Drink When?

Beat the Heat: Hydrate with Lemon

Beat the Heat: Hydrate with Lemon

Tips to Avoid Dehydration

Tips to Avoid Dehydration

12 Must-Know Hydration Rules for Athletes

12 Must-Know Hydration Rules for Athletes

Electrolytes Explained

Electrolytes Explained

Opinion: Your Post-Workout Recovery Nutrition Should Be Liquid

Opinion: Your Post-Workout Recovery Nutrition Should Be Liquid

Individualize Your Hydration Schedule

Individualize Your Hydration Schedule

Why Pedialyte Is a Good Source of Hydration for Hockey Players

Why Pedialyte Is a Good Source of Hydration for Hockey Players

How to Stay Hydrated When It's Hot and Humid

How to Stay Hydrated When It's Hot and Humid

Surviving Football Hell Week: A Nutrition Guide

Surviving Football Hell Week: A Nutrition Guide

YardBarker