As I already mentioned in the introduction, starting a workout in dehydrated state will take you places you don’t want to be in. As little as 1% of body weight decrease due to fluid loss will make you competitively disadvantaged and put you at greater health risk. Research shows that adequate hydration level prior physical activity reduces muscle tissue breakdown. You don’t want to use the muscles to fuel your workout. You should always go into training or competing in well hydrated state.
Pre-exercise hydration general recommendations:
- 4 hr before: 16-20 oz (500-600 ml)
- 1-2 hr before: 12-16 oz (350-500 ml). Water only. Carbohydrate (sugar) rich drinks can cause hypoglycemic reaction (low blood sugar), making you dizzy or lightheaded right before the start.
- 10-20 min before: 8-12 oz (250-350 ml). High glycemic drinks or sports drinks are safe to consume.
Add a pinch of salt to retain fluids in your body. Avoid drinking too much too fast as you may have to interrupt training session to use the washroom.
The first thing to do, straight from the bed, is to objectively access your hydration status. Run quick self-assessment on your body:
- Do I feel not thirsty at all or particularly thirsty and your urine is bright yellow? You’re starting your day in a good state and there is nothing special you need to do before your workout.
- How dark is my urine? The first pee in a day is the most accurate indicator of your background hydration status.
If you feel quite thirsty, the good idea would be to postpone the session 15-30 minutes to get some fluids in and make sure you’re not putting yourself into the deeper hole.
If you train in the afternoon and especially if you also been training in the same day morning, you have to take more aggressive approach to your hydration. Before going into your evening training, you have to completely restore your hydration status, especially if the morning session was challenging.