Finding Your Hydration Sweet Spot
You're already well aware that dehydration is bad, but most people don't realize that when you drink too much water, you can dilute the electrolyte levels in your blood causing some serious problems too. The solution then isn't just to pound tons of water and call it good.
We will give you one rule of thumb to go by...drink when you're thirsty.
You're probably thinking, "Wait, didn't they just say one-size-fits-all doesn't work?"
The answer is yes, that's still the case so here are the most common exceptions to the "drink when thirsty" rule of thumb. These are especially important to pay attention to because as endurance athletes, we find ourselves in these situations often.
Exception #1: High Elevations
Some of the greatest endurance events happen at high elevations. If you're an ultrarunner, a mountain biker, or anything in between, you've probably spent a lot of time up in mountainous terrain. Similar to how a cell phone can lose service at the top of a remote mountain, our built-in thirst mechanism seems to "lose service" at high elevations as well. In other words, you don't get thirsty like normal. You may need to schedule fluid replenishment to make sure you don't forget to drink and get dehydrated.
Exception #2: Hot Climates
When it's hot, you're going to sweat a lot which means you'll lose sodium and water quickly. This is a problem when you're sedentary but it will be especially problematic if you're exercising in hot weather. To combat the risk of dehydration, you'll want to consider pre-hydrating, in other words, replenishing your fluids well before you feel thirsty to combat the rapid rate at which you'll lose water and sodium through sweat.
The Danger of Overwatering
The biggest mistake people make is failing to replenish their electrolytes. Just drinking water especially in hot climates or when exercising, fails to replenish sodium and other important electrolytes. In the 1980s, the military recommended that troops drink 1.8 liters of water every hour but had no recommendation for electrolyte replenishment. As a result, "overwatering" became a huge problem. The troops would fall into a state of hyponatremia (low sodium levels caused by overwatering) and because the symptoms looked similar to dehydration the solution prescribed was more water which made the condition worse. In one unfortunate case, this proved fatal. We tell you this only to help you realize that replenishing electrolytes isn't just something "good to do" but something that's crucial for your health and performance! For that reason, we suggest using an electrolyte-fortified hydration drink or electrolyte capsules to help you replenish essential fluids and electrolytes.
We've Got the Hydration Tools You Need
We've got 4 hydration tools to fit your varied needs.
Tool #1: RocketLytes Electrolyte Capsules with Ginger & Peppermint
These are a must-have for hot days. Each capsule contains essential electrolytes with stomach-soothing ginger and peppermint. These are perfect if you prefer water over a hydration electrolyte drink or want a convenient way to get more electrolytes.
Tool #2: Acqua+ Healthy Hydration
Acqua+ was created to be your go-to everyday hydration aid. It's a coconut water-based drink that's lower in calories and packed with electrolytes.
Tool #3: CarboRocket Hydration Electrolyte Drink
CarboRocket gives your body fast-paced hydration to train longer and race farther. It contains a moderate amount of calories to fuel you through a hard workout or race and is packed with electrolytes.
Tool #4: 333 Half Evil All-In-One Endurance Fuel
333 Half Evil is for your longest most grueling training and competition days. With 333 calories per serving, it's Proven as a stand-alone race and training fuel so there's no need to hassle with messy gels, gooey gummies, expensive bars, or clumsy food. Just drink 333 and Go and Go and Go!
A Final Word: Become the Guinea Pig
Ultimately, finding what works for you will require some experimentation. We suggest purchasing a combination of the above hydration tools and using them for both training and non-training days to see what makes you feel best. Use the information in this article as a starting point for your experiments and remember that there are always exceptions to every rule of thumb! To learn more about our hydration tools and the other products we have to offer that will take you to your next level, CLICK HERE!