The clear difference between winning & losing, hydration in sports performance

What hydration is best in sports performance?


Hydration is key & it’s often overlooked or just simply forgotten about in our busy lives. The statistics are incredible & hard to ignore. With 3% – 5% dehydration of body mass, your performance begins to pay the price in both physical & cognitive function.

“When maximal aerobic power has been investigated with regard to hydration status, the findings suggest that when hypohydration of less than 3% of body mass is present, there is no effect on maximal aerobic power, but when the dehydration increases to between 3% and 5% of body mass, power reductions have been recorded.”

Sawka MN, Pandolf KB. Effect of body water loss on physiological function and exercise performance.

Water vs sports drinks

If hydration is one battle, choosing what to hydrate with is the next.  Keep it simple stay away from alcohol & sodas. For that edge in full hydration and replacement of lost carbohydrates & electrolytes, I choose to go with a sports performance drink. Don’t get me wrong water is great, but in my opinion it’s second place in this instance.

“Consumption of sports beverage drinks during exercise is recommended to meet carbohydrate and to replace sweat, water, and electrolyte losses. The majority of the literature supports both fluid and carbohydrate replacement during exercise. Different exercise tasks (metabolic requirements, duration, clothing, equipment), weather conditions, and other factors such as genetic predisposition, heat acclimatization, and training status influence sweating rate and electrolyte concentrations and determine fluid needs.

Sawka, M.N., L.M. Burke, E.R. Eichner, et al. American College of Sports Medicine position stand: exercise and fluid replacement

What about the sugars in sports drinks?

Ultimately sugar comes in three forms and is a carbohydrate. For the most efficient hydration we want to have a full or best replacement of our carbohydrates & electrolytes, to keep at max performance. To achieve this you should look for a sports drink with both glucose & fructose.

Where it has a negative effect is when you are drinking a sports drink & don’t need to replace any of your spent muscle glucose. This will ultimately store as glycogen & fat in your adipose tissue.

“The main finding from the present study is that ingesting a carbohydrate beverage containing both glucose and fructose in a 2:1 ratio ingested at a rate of 1.8 gIminj resulted in an 8% improvement in performance compared with ingestion of glucose alone at the same rate.”

Jeukendrup AE, Jentjens R. Oxidation of carbohydrate feedings during prolonged exercise.

Three big take aways

  • Remember to keep hydrated
  • Choose the best fluid for your activity and be aware of unnecessary sugars
  • Keep a water bottle on you and follow these tips to reach your optimum performance

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