Best Ways To Stay Hydrated In Summer Heat
Most of us love when the sun is shining, but it's been so damn hot and humid this summer that for many of us, it's taking a bit of a toll. To train effectively in heat, you've got to master hydration. So what're the best ways to stay hydrated in the summer heat? You're going to need to get enough water into you and also replace electrolytes.
Electrolytes are a liquid or gel that transforms into ions when dissolved in water. Their job is to help to conduct electrical impulses throughout the body. Without them, your muscles wouldn’t be able to contract and your brain wouldn’t function. Who wants that?
When you’re low in electrolytes, you’ll fatigue more quickly, lose power, and the water you’re drinking won’t be able to get into your tissues as effectively.
Electrolytes and water escape through sweat, so if you’re day is pretty sedentary you have nothing to worry about. You should get all the electrolytes you need in your food. If, on the other hand, you’re sweating like a complete maniac under the hot sun, you'll perform much better if you focus on quickly replacing the electrolytes that you lose through sweat. You'll also recover much faster instead of feeling totally wiped out for the rest of the day.
Best Ways To Stay Hydrated In Summer Heat
1. Skip the Sports Drinks
Gatorade came out in 1965 and since then, a number of sports drinks have hit the market. They do contain electrolytes, but they also contain plenty of sugar and flavouring agents. In some cases this might be OK, but it’s not the best option for those trying to lose fat and “eat clean”. We can do better.
2. Drink Coconut Water
Coconut water is a great source of electrolytes, especially natural salts, potassium and magnesium. However, just a small bottle of coconut water can contain 15g of sugar. Even though it's 'natural', for those concerned about fat loss, this may not be appropriate. It depends on how your body tolerates the sugar. If you're engaged in strenuous activity outside, coconut water can be a solid option. But don't sip on it all day because that sugar can add up.
3. Try Electrolyte Tablets
Simple! Just drop a tablet into your liter of water, let it dissolve, and drink. They’re small, portable and come in a variety of flavours. You can find electrolyte tablets at most sporting good stores or order online. You can also get electrolyte powders where you add a scoop to your water.
4. Take Your Water with a Grain of Salt
Adding one or two pinches of salt to your drinking water can be a great help. Salt is a natural electrolyte and it’s cheap! Opt for a sea salt or Himalayan salt because they’ll tend to contain other trace minerals that are important to your health.
5. What I've Been Trying
We all know it's hot in the gym right now! When I workout in the afternoon or playing soccer on weekends, here's what I've been doing. I've been drinking water + Biosteel Sports Mix (it's mainly an electrolyte mix without sugar or stimulants) + a pinch a sea salt. If it's really sweaty and I feel that I'm a little dehydrated, I'll sip on some in the hour or so prior to the workout. I'll sip on it during the workout, and then have another batch afterward to help my energy levels recover. I feel like it's been making a notable difference, especially in how I feel later in the day. Instead of feeling zapped all day, I still have energy and mental focus, even after a long and difficult workout when I'm sweating buckets.
6. Hydrate before, during, and after
Don’t only think about hydrating prior to your activity. Make sure you start your activity in a well-hydrated state. Then sip on fluids + electrolytes during activity. Find the right balance between taking in enough vs. filling your stomach with too much liquid and having it slosh around/feel uncomfortable. As soon as you finish your activity, try to replenish what you lost. After a sweaty session, use one of the methods above to replenish your electrolytes: sodium, potassium, calcium and magnesium.
7. Hit Your daily hydration targets
A good baseline for daily water consumption is to drink half of your bodyweight (in pounds) in fluid ounces per day. So if you weigh 150lbs, drink 75 oz. of water daily. 1 oz is about 30ml, so 75oz is 2.25 L. With extra activity, you’re going to want to increase that number.