Individualize Your Hydration Schedule | STACK
X

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

Individualize Your Hydration Schedule

March 3, 2013 | Heather Mangieri

Must See Nutrition Videos

There's absolutely no benefit to being dehydrated. (See Warning Signs of Dehydration.) For athletes, fluid intake is the most important nutrition consideration. Research has shown that a loss of body weight of just one percent (1.5 pounds in a 150-pound athlete) can adversely affect a person's ability to cope with stress. A loss of two percent of body weight can impair athletic performance. To achieve optimal performance, athletes must be adequately hydrated.

It is difficult to maintain proper hydration during exercise, which is why I recommend setting up a daily hydration schedule. Following a hydration schedule will ensure you are properly hydrated before activity begins. Get started with this basic fluid plan, suitable for most athletes. Then tailor it to your activity level, drinking as much as you need.

Fluid Planning For Athletes

In the morning. Start your day by drinking 8 ounces of water first thing. Space out your intake throughout the day, aiming for one glass every hour.

Two hours before exercise. Drink at least two cups (16 oz.) of fluid. Drinking two to three hours before exercise allows enough time for fluid to be lost through urine before exercise begins.

30 minutes before exercise. Drink five to 10 ounces of fluid. There is no benefit to chugging fluid in an attempt to stay hydrated. Although everybody is different, the body can only absorb fluid so fast, and you do not want to have extra fluid sloshing around in your stomach when it is time to start your activity.

Right before exercise. Check your weight.

Every 15 minutes during activity. Try to drink a half to a full cup of fluid. The goal is to consistently replace fluid lost during activity. Drink four to eight ounces every fifteen minutes, or sixteen to thirty-two ounces over an hour, without overloading the body and causing GI distress. Remember: One gulp is about one ounce, so aim for four to eight gulps of fluid every 15 minutes.

After activity. Re-weigh yourself and compare it to your pre-practice weight to find out how much water you lost during exercise. Drink 20 to 24 ounces of fluid for every pound of body weight lost.

Drink Selection Guidelines

  • Choose your beverage based on your workout.
  • In general, water is a good choice for activities of light to moderate intensity that are completed in less than 45 minutes.
  • For activity over 45 minutes or moderate-to-heavy exercise in warm, humid weather, your needs are better met with a sports drink. Sports drinks replace the electrolytes lost in sweat; water does not.
  • Choose a sport drink that provides six to eight percent carbohydrate (14-19 grams per 8 ounces) for added energy (and possibly improved absorption).
Heather Mangieri
- Heather Mangieri is an award-winning expert in food and nutrition and a board certified specialist in sports dietetics. She owns Nutrition CheckUp, a nutrition...
Heather Mangieri
- Heather Mangieri is an award-winning expert in food and nutrition and a board certified specialist in sports dietetics. She owns Nutrition CheckUp, a nutrition...
Must See
Skylar Diggins Attacks the Off-Season On and Off the Court
Views: 2,605,280
How to Perform the Euro Step With Iman Shumpert
Views: 80,021
Colin Kaepernick Explains His Ridiculous Socks
Views: 21,653,048

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

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

More Cool Stuff You'll Like

Healthy Hydration for Track & Field Athletes

Weight Loss and Other Benefits of Staying Hydrated

Winter Dehydration: Are You At Risk?

4 Hydration Rules for Football Players

Will This Edible Blob Replace Your Water Bottle?

An Athlete's Guide to Late-Summer Dehydration

Cutting Weight for Wrestling: 3-Step Sodium Strategy

Staying Hydrated for Basketball

7 Rules for Keeping Hydrated

Hydration: Follow the Rules That Help Your Performance

Beat the Heat: Hydrate with Lemon

Avoid Dehydration During Your Next Hockey Game

How to Schedule Your Hydration

Beat the Heat During Training With These Hydration Strategies

Hydrate With...Pickle Juice?

Benefits of Coconut Water for Athletes

Opinion: Your Post-Workout Recovery Nutrition Should Be Liquid

Ask the Experts: Am I Drinking Too Much Water?

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

Electrolytes Explained

Hydration Inside the Race Car

6 Effective Drinks for Athletes

Drinking for Sport Performance

This Ebola Treatment Sounds a Lot Like Your Sports Drink

Selecting Fluids to Enhance Soccer Performance

Powerade Removes Controversial Ingredient

Compare 3 of the Most Popular Hydration Backpacks

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

Elements of Proper Hydration

How Much Water Should Athletes Drink Every Day?

Why Pedialyte Is a Good Source of Hydration for Hockey Players

Hydration Guidelines for Volleyball Players

Surviving Football Hell Week: A Nutrition Guide

I Hate Water: Healthy Alternatives to H2O

12 Must-Know Hydration Rules for Athletes

Not Just for Drinking: Use Water to Avoid Getting Sick

How to Hydrate With Food

BPA: Health Hazard In Your Water Bottle?

4 Ways to Carry Backpack Hydration

New Gatorade Montage Counts 50 Years of Fueling Athletes

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

Healthy Hydration for Hockey Players

Chocolate Milk after Workouts

How to Stay Hydrated When It's Hot and Humid