Before discussing your nutrition pre, during, and post workout, we're going to start Eat Smarter by going over the basics. These will be the building blocks for optimizing your sports nutrition. Here is the first key to eating smarter:

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Key #1: Hydrate

Quick! What’s the most important thing for health? Breathing? Yes, stop breathing and you’ll die in a few minutes. How about the second most important thing for staying alive? Water.

Our body needs water for the following functions:

* It acts as solvents for nutrients.

* It aids in digestion and absorption.

* It transports materials throughout the body.

* It eliminates toxins and waste products.

* It regulates body temperature.

* It is used for energy production.

Stop drinking for a few days and you stop living. Did you hear the remarkable story of the Bangladeshi woman who survived 17 days in the wreckage of a collapsed garment building? She managed that near impossible feat because she had found some bottled water.

There is not a single cell in your body that does not rely on water. Water makes up 80% of your blood’s volume, and helps transport the carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that your cells need to make energy. So dehydration really messes with the delivery of all the nutrients your body needs. And as an elite athlete, nutrients are the key to your success.

Think of your veins and arteries as your city’s roads and highways. These roads are used to bring goods into the city but also to transport unwanted materials out. If this transportation is slowed, the result is a city that is starving for goods and overflowing with garbage.

On a normal day you should drink at least half your body weight in ounces of water each day (75oz or 2.3 L for a 150lb person). However, increase your intake when you're exercising, during extreme temperatures (hot summers and cold winters), and even during times of stress (like exam time).

Make drinking water part of your 24-hour athlete routine. Take a water bottle to class, the gym, or just when you're hanging around the house and fill it up a few times every day. Stay hydrated to excel in everyday nutrition and to move toward your dream.

Today's POWER-UP: Get Hydrated!

So make drinking water part of your daily routine. Get a water bottle and keep it with you and fill it up a few times every day. Water is just as important at school or home as it is in the gym! Stay hydrated, stay healthy and Be Better! 

Pre-exercise Hydration

  • 4 hours before training / competition drink 400-600mL or the equivalent of about 5-7 mL/kg body weight.

  • 2 hours before training / competition drink 3-5mL/kg body weight.

  • 10-20 minutes before training / competition drink only 200-300mL of water.

  • The fluid source should be water accompanied by a light meal or snack that provides carbohydrates and electrolytes such as sodium and potassium.

During Exercise

  • Replace fluids frequently. The key is to drink early and at regular intervals.

  • 150-350 ml every 15-20 minutes.

  • For low intensity exercise water is sufficient.

  • For higher intensity exercise, less than 1 hour in duration, drink water.

  • For high intensity exercise longer than 1 hour, you can choose sports drinks that have 30-60g of carbohydrate / 1L of water.

Post Exercise

  • You should consume 1.5 times the fluid lost during exercise. Weigh yourself before and after activity and replace 450-675ml of fluid for every 0.5kg of body weight lost.

  • Do not replace this all at once! Drink to comfort level and then divide the rest of the amount required for hydration over time.

  • Again if the activity was longer than an hour, was of high intensity, or was done in the heat and you were sweating lots, than choose a sport drink to help with electrolyte replacement.