Whether you are a cyclist, runner or play any type of sport, all athletes lose water. If you are an endurance athlete, then the chances of loss of water become greater which can lead to decreased athletic performance. During athletic activity, water is primarily lost through sweat and breathing. Keeping yourself optimally hydrated during a workout can prevent exhaustion and maintain your performance during training.

How much water should an athlete drink during a day?

The amount of water intake can be calculated in the following way for an individual:

1] Your Bodyweight say 70 kg

2] No of glasses of water / day: 70/7.2 = 9.72 glasses (1 glass = 250 ml).

Increase the no. of glasses of water:

  1. If you drink lots of coffee or tea or if you had beverages with higher caffeine content.

  2. If your workout intensity is higher.

How can you check whether you are hydrated or not?

The color of urine is a good indicator of whether your body is hydrated or not. Urine is clear or slightly yellow in color. Darker the color of urine indicates less water intake. However, keep in mind taking that vitamin supplements like Riboflavin can change the urine color to strong yellow despite being hydrated.

What should you have during a workout?

If your workout is of low intensity and is less than 60 minutes, then water is the only thing you need to have. However, it is recommended to have a pre-workout meal of complex carbohydrates at least 1 hour before the workout begins to fuel your carbohydrates stores. If your workout is of moderate or high-intensity and lasts greater than 60 minutes, then having a sports drink is beneficial. Sports drinks containing carbohydrates (4-8%) with electrolytes sodium and potassium can help replenish the lost electrolytes and glycogen stores. A sports drink without potassium electrolytes is less beneficial for sporting activity. If you have a sports drink that has a higher carbohydrate % > 8% then dilute it with water before drinking.

Should you have sports drinks that contain adaptogens like Ashwagandha, ginseng, etc?

At present, there is no conclusive evidence that the presence of adaptogens can improve performance.

What should you avoid having during a workout?

During a workout, one should avoid drinking cola beverages, fruit juices or Protein shakes. Protein Shakes should be taken within 30 minutes after a workout has ended.