When your body gets hot it will try to cool down by releasing water (H2O) as perspiration. This is why, when we workout, we need to drink plenty of water during and afterwards and even before we start. But how much water is needed to avoid dehydration and give your body the best chances of working properly so you’ll get the best workout?
The best way to know how much water you need is to weigh yourself. Do this before the workout (without clothes if possible), do a normal workout (don’t workout more than usual and drink as much as you normally do). After the workout, take off your clothes and weigh yourself again. If the difference between your two numbers (initial weigh and after workout weigh) is more than 2% you should be drinking more water.
The American Council on Exercise (ACE) has recommended the following:
Drink between 17 to 20 ounces of water (0.5 to 0.6 liters) of water 2 to 3 hours before exercising.
Drink 8 ounces of water (0.24 liters) 30 minutes before the warm-up or during it.
Drink 8 ounces of water (0.24 liters) every 10 to 20 minutes during exercise.
Drink another 8 ounces of water (0.24 liters) within 30 minutes of finishing the exercise.
So, you should be drinking anywhere from 41 ounces (about 1.25 liters) to 44 ounces (about 1.35 liters) before, during and after the workout.
These are rough estimates that can chance a lot depending on the intensity of the workout, your gender, age, height, weight and the duration of the workout. Also, women generally need less water than men.
To determine exactly how much water you need, we recommend the Camelback Hydration Calculator
It’s also recommended that you drink a sports drink (besides water) that has between 120 and 170 mg of sodium per 8 oz (0.24 liters) and doesn’t contain much sugar. This will help replenish you electrolyte levels. You can also try drinking coconut water.
Colder water (but not ice cold) will help keeping your body temperature lower for a longer time which will prevent fatigue.
Each exercise is different and will require different levels of water. You should test and see what works for you and adjust accordingly. A simple way to figure out how hydrated you are is the bathroom test. If you’re properly hydrated your urine should have a pale lemonade color. When it’s clear you are drinking too much water and when it’s yellow you need to drink more water.
Do not replace water with tea, sport drinks and so on. Water doesn’t have a replacement and has a huge list of benefits that neither drink has. If you find water to be boring (taste wise) then you can add a few fruits, lemon, cucumber, mint, etc in it to give it more flavor.
Now you know how much water you need to be drinking when exercising so it’s time to hit the gym or start your home workout. Follow the guidelines we’ve mentioned or the ones you’ve found using the camelback calculator and you should be fine.