70%. Of all the fluids Americans drink every day, that’s how much isn’t water, according to the most recent U.S. National Health Nutrition Examination Survey. Although the study reveals that most men reach their target for total fluid intake, only 30% of that is made up of water. Which isn’t doing their health any favors, particularly if they’re exercising regularly.
Why? A humble glass of H2O may not be the most popular pre-workout tipple for Americans, but it's certainly the most essential. A study published in the journal Sports Medicine found dehydration "consistently attenuates strength (by 2%), power (by 3%) and high-intensity endurance (by 10%)."
As a rule of thumb, drink a 250ml glass of water 30 minutes before you hit the gym to ensure your muscles are firing on all cylinders. Then follow that up with 500ml within 30 minutes of finishing. Deciding how much to sip mid-session is more subjective. "Around 500ml of water during the course of a one-hour workout is sensible," says nutritional therapist Jo Scott-Dalgeish.
After 90 minutes moderate exercise, water is no longer enough. At this point, your glycogen stores are mere fumes and it's time to start sipping electrolyte-rich sports drinks. For endurance athletes, managing minerals is exceptionally important and, although the concept of drinking too much water may seem strange, it can be dangerous.
Downing liters of water without replacing electrolytes can cause a condition called hyponatremia, which may lead to seizures, organ failure and even death. If you're tackling long distance runs, ensure you have a tried-and-tested hydration strategy in place.
By: Edward Lane