Submitted by Brianne Colette, B. Sc, Nutritionist
Combatting dehydration should be an important component to a training program and/or meal plan for athletes for multiple reasons. Dehydration has been shown to negatively affect physical performance and cognitive functioning which are crucial to performing your best! As well, dehydration can lead to uncomfortable headaches, dry mouth, and symptoms of fatigue, which can also further affect athletic performance, training and general day to day activities.
One of the most important questions about dehydration is: How do check if I’m dehydrated? A good place to start is to self-monitor how you’re feeling. If you feeling thirsty or sluggish you may already be dehydrated!! A very helpful trick is to check your urine.
Here is a urine chart to see where you’re at with hydration:
Great! Now you’re ready to drink more water! But - Is there such a thing as over-hydration? Yes, this is definitely something to consider. Training and competing while properly hydrated can be beneficial at performing at your best but over-hydrating, for example by drinking too many fluids, can also be detrimental. Running to the washroom often and feeling too full are real problems that occur with over-hydration. This is why keeping track of your fluid intake before and during an event can help determine the amount of hydration needed instead of overcompensating and drinking too much! The important take-away message here is to be as hydrated as possible to prevent any negative effects on performance while also preventing overhydrating and uncomfortable levels of fluids.
Manitoba Sport Nutrition Network