Tag: Nutrition

Hydration for Athletes and Lifters

Hydration for Athletes and Lifters

What is Hydration?

First, hydration is a balance of fluids in the body or having adequate fluids within the body tissues. There are many factors which affect the balance of fluids within the body as our systems are constantly functioning and changing. Your fluid balance will change depending upon activity, temperature, electrolyte balance, fluids consumed and many other factors. So make sure to follow good hydration practices for optimal performance and health.

Good Hydration Practices:

  • Always carry fluids with you.
  • Consume water regularly throughout the day.
  • Drink 1 Liter of water within one hour of first waking up.
  • Drink at least 0.7oz X Bodyweight of water during active days.
  • Consume 1/2 Liter of a 6% saturated (60g per 1 Liter) solution of carbohydrates in sodium water (400-500mg per Liter) for each hour of your training.
  • Consume an extra 1 Liter of water, or more, when exposed to hot conditions.

Effects of Dehydration

Hydration is important because even a slightly dehydrated fluid balance can have negative effects on your body’s systems, health, and overall performance.

The effects of dehydration affect all tissues within the body. The blood is the smallest fluid compartment in the body and regulates the fluid within the surrounding cells. So fluid loss affects the cardiac system the most. This is due to a decrease in blood plasma volume, which holds a large amount of oxygen and allows for normal cardiac output.

This loss also decreases the blood flow to the skin. This mechanism is used to cool the blood and decreases sweat rate, therefore, decreasing core temperature. An increase in core temperature increases the likelihood of heat exhaustion and other dangerous heat-related illness.

Effects on Performance

The effects of dehydration can also have a great effect on athletic performance.

1A fluid loss of even 2-3% (% of body weight) can decrease your VO2 Max (aerobic performance/ the amount of oxygen the body can use) by 5% and fluid loss of 5% can decrease work capacity by 30% (fluid loss % based upon body weight). Those are major effects occurring after only slight dehydration.

The effects of dehydration are a major concern for endurance athletes that compete continuously for over 1 hour, but there is also a concern for athletes performing high-intensity exercise. 1It has been found that a fluid loss of only 2.5%, prior to exercise, can decrease the capacity for high-intensity exercises, such as sprinting or powerlifting, by 45%. That is nearly half of the athlete’s work capacity decreased just by not staying hydrated before performing.

Even for non-active individuals, hydration is important for proper body function. A constant state of dehydration leads to:

  • frequent headaches or migraines
  • rough skin
  • decreased muscular function
  • decreased joint function
  • joint pain
  • decreased kidney function
  • and multiple health problems

Many health and performance concerns can be alleviated by simply staying hydrated daily.


How to Stay Hydrated

Luckily, our bodies are smart and they do not give up fluid easily. So normal hydration is not difficult to maintain.

The kidneys filter your blood, removing waste, and maintain proper fluid balance within the body. There is a constant battle between the pull of fluids inside the body versus the pull of fluids out of the body. The side which has the most pull will take most of the fluids. If the pull is too great in one direction or the other, there is an imbalance that will have negative effects.

To be in fluid balance, the pull of fluids out of the body should be equal, or slightly greater, than the pull of fluids inside the body. If the pull of fluids is shifted towards a pull inside the body, then you are in a state of dehydration. This pull allows the body to maintain a constant blood plasma volume. Which then brings fluids to all other cells within the body.

The pull of fluids out of the body is based on the number of waste products that need to be removed through the urine. If there is a greater pull of fluids out of the body through urine then you are either hydrated or there is a major amount of waste product that needs to be removed. This waste can be excess sodium, or other electrolytes, proteins and nitrogen from broken down cells, or toxins within the body. 

Your body wants to get rid of these particles but needs water as a transport. So the more you workout and break down tissue, the more fluid you need to get rid of the waste.

Salt, Water, and Sugar

In the kidneys, Sodium, Water and Glucose are filtered together and move together. One of the major functions of sodium, an electrolyte [Na+], is to help maintain fluid balance within the body’s cells.

In the body, water follows sodium in order to maintain a constant concentration gradient (or fluid balance). This is from comparing particles in and out of the cells.

Also, for every gram of carbohydrates in the body, in the form of glycogen, there are 2.7g of water attached to it. This gives sugary sports drinks an advantage for hydration. If there are sodium and carbohydrates within a water-based drink, such as sports drinks, then there is a large pull towards fluids inside the body during absorption and filtration. This is why it is important to utilize appropriately concentrated sports drinks during long-duration exercise to stay hydrated.

However, that does not mean you always need a sports drink to stay hydrated. You have to earn it! If you are not doing intense exercise for at least one hour, then all you need is water for hydration. Only excessive and exhausting exercise requires more.

The most optimal concentration of carbohydrates in water for hydration is 6% concentration. That is 6g per 100mL or 60g of carbohydrates per Liter of water. The amount of sodium needed within the solution varies depending upon the individual, but it is also an important part of replenishment. The standard sodium content should be enough to taste like Ocean water or about 400-500mg per Liter of water.

It was also found that cold fluids moved through the stomach faster allowing for faster absorption in the intestines. So keep fluids cool during exercise, when possible.

The Perfect Hydrating Drink

To stay hydrated during exercise sessions exceeding one hour, continuous or not, drink ½ Liter of cool water with about 30g of fast digesting carbohydrates, in the form of sugar, for every hour of activity.

Throughout the day manage fluid intake by consuming water. You should consume the same amount of water that you lose throughout the day so that fluid in equal fluids out. This will help to maintain a state of hydration while allowing for urine production to remove waste products.

For individuals with a high activity level, drink a minimum of 0.7oz per pound of bodyweight to stay hydrated while removing the waste product from excessive muscle contractions.

During hot days, consume at least one extra Liter of water to account for the excess fluid loss from skin dissipation or sweat.


Final Thoughts

Overall, staying hydrated is not difficult but if neglected it can have major negative effects on your body’s ability to perform and function properly.

The first step to hydration is being prepared. If you are going to be away from a water source for a long period then carry enough fluids with you. Think ahead and know what you need to consume for the activity you are doing.

Also, learn to enjoy water. You should not constantly be craving water, as that is a sign of dehydration. However, you should not dread every drink you take. Water should make up a majority of the fluid you drink so have no complaints about the taste.

It takes some dedication to consume a large amount of fluid daily for active individuals. However, it takes the same dedication to be fit and healthy. By neglecting to stay hydrated you are neglecting to maintain a healthy functioning body. Just be consistent and you will find it is not as hard as you may think.

Stay strong, stay healthy, and stay hydrated.


Credits:

1 = Gleeson, M. Ph.D., Jeukendrup, A. Ph.D. (2010) Sports Nutrition, Second Edition. Excerpt.

http://www.humankinetics.com/excerpts/excerpts/dehydration-and-its-effects-on-performance

For more on hydration, watch this video!

Death of the Diet

Death of the Diet

Diets are dying. Not because they do not work. In fact, many of them work very well.

The problem has always been what comes after the diet ends.

Just by stating that you are “on a diet” implies that there will be some end to your current eating habits.

This does not mean that you will break the guidelines of your diet for a short period of time but rather that at some point you will either adopt a new set of dietary guidelines or have none at all.

This confuses your body as it has to get used to a whole new set of parameters everytime you change your diet, or you will just lose all your progress by having no guidelines at all.

Not only that, but many diets can be dangerous and even harmful. Though they may have great short-term results, they can ruin your long-term health.

Diets are only temporary and dieting needs to end!

A better, more long-lasting way of staying healthy through dietary means is to stick to a set of principles that become a way of life.

These principles need to look out for your body’s long-term health while improving performance. For that reason, we created our own set of Principles with your health in mind.

Learn more about our Diet and Nutrition Principles Here!

Our Diet and Nutrition Principles will look out for your body’s health no matter what diet plan you follow!

Use them to improve your physical performance while maintaining a healthy body for years to come!

Also, check out some of our Nutrition Articles:


Join the Mathias Method Army for updates and more great content like this!

Join Now!

How Alcohol Decreases Performance and Muscle Gain

How Alcohol Decreases Performance and Muscle Gain

Alcohol is an acidic substance that can travel freely through the cells in the body.

As it runs through our blood and into our brain, organ and muscle cells, it breaks down the tissues, causing damage and decreasing function.

In small doses, it does little damage, but over time the negative effects can add up to significant performance loss, especially with excessive amounts.

Alcohol also greatly decreases water reabsorption, causing dehydration, testosterone and your body’s ability to recover from exercise. This puts even more stress on your body and adds to the negative effects of alcohol.

The goal of your diet should be to improve your performance and health, and anything that goes against that goal should not be a part of your diet. That includes alcohol, drugs, and even some foods.

So if you truly want to perform at your best, build muscle and be healthy, you should avoid consuming alcohol and any other harmful substances on a regular basis.


Join the Mathias Method Army for updates and more great content like this!

Join Now!

Why Whole Food Is Better Than Any Supplement!

Why Whole Foods Are Better Than Any Supplement!

Whole foods are always better than processed foods and supplements.

Whole foods include things like meat, dairy, nuts, beans, fruits, and vegetables that have little to no processing, and are still in their whole natural form.

If you want to perform your best and live healthily, then whole foods are the way to go. Supplements are ok if you need something quick and easy, but whole foods need to be your solid base of nutrition.

Processed Food vs. Whole Food

Processed foods are modified forms of whole foods that commonly remove valuable nutrients and add in less valuable nutrients.

Whole foods are better than processed foods because whole foods are in a perfect consumable form, full of valuable nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals.

Whole foods are natural and in a form that our bodies can easily digest. It is only after modifying our food that our bodies become confused and have negative reactions to the food we eat.

Modifying our food modifies the way that our body has to break it down and how it reacts to the substances in it.

This is often harmful and leads to unhealthy conditions in the body, such as hormonal changes, digestion problems, and inflammation.

That is why you should try to focus on creating your own food from whole foods rather than relying on processed foods.

Some common processed foods to avoid are:

  • most bread or wheat products,
  • canned foods,
  • processed meats,
  • fried foods,
  • desserts and candies.

Supplements vs. Whole Foods

Supplements can be valuable if you lack specific nutrients, but are a weaker form of food.

If you do not have a nutrient deficient illness, you do not need any supplements to be healthy or perform well.

Originally, supplements were designed to aid people with illnesses that lacked specific nutrients. Doctors would prescribe those with nutrient deficiencies, usually caused by a lack of whole foods in their diet, supplements to help replace what they have not been getting from their diet.

This was never a solution, but rather like giving the body medicine to fix the immediate symptoms. The ultimate fix would just be to teach their patients to eat whole foods that supplied the nutrients they needed.

Now, regardless of what many bodybuilders and fitness athletes may think, you DO NOT NEED ANY SUPPLEMENT to get bigger, stronger or faster.

All you need is more whole foods that supply everything you need!

If you want to get bigger, stronger and faster, then just eat more whole foods to get all the nutrients you need!

If you ever do choose to take a supplement, you should consult with someone who knows about the effects of each of its ingredients, such as a medical practitioner and does research from a knowledgeable source.

Just remember to keep whole foods as your base of nutrition to keep your body strong and healthy!

Learn about my thoughts on Steroids and PEDs in Strength Sports.

Tip: Organic does not mean healthy. Organic products have the potential to carry more nutrients but may be just as bad for you if you make bad choices and indulge too much on sweet things. Think and read the labels before making a logical decision about if any food is healthy in your opinion and works towards your goals.

Join the Mathias Method Army for updates and more great content like this!

Join Now!

Water To Get stronger, Build Muscle and Lose Fat!

How Much Water Do You Need To Get stronger, Build Muscle and Lose Fat?

Water is the most valuable nutrient for our body to be healthy and perform optimally.

Even a slight amount of dehydration (2-3%) can greatly affect your health and performance.

That is why it is so important to stay hydrated every day. Especially if you are looking to get stronger, build muscle or lose weight.

To keep your body performing at its best and avoid the negative effects of dehydration, drink at least 0.7oz of water per pound of body weight daily.

Realize that this is only the minimum requirement and, the more active you are, the more you should drink to stay properly hydrated.

 

Tips for Improving Hydration

  • Don’t drink your daily fluids all at once. Spread your intake throughout the day.
  • To help improve metabolisms and energize your body, consume one liter, or 33.2oz, of water within the first hour after waking up in the morning.
  • Another large percentage should be consumed just before, during and after exercise, however, this should be done with salty food to improve absorption and maintain electrolyte balance.
  • If you are not used to consuming an adequate amount of water, start by increasing your intake by 0.5 liters or about 16oz per 1 week until you reach your daily needs.

To learn more about Hydration, read our article Hydration Basics for Athletes and Lifters and watch the video below!

Join the Mathias Method Army for updates and more great content like this!

Join Now!