Boost Your Workouts With This Zero-Calorie Nutrient

by Suzanne Hiscock

What’s one nutrient that has zero calories yet can boost your energy while working out?  Water!  Water is not only important to drink as you go about your daily business, but you need to make sure you’re drinking enough while working out.  Dehydration can make you run out of steam while exercising—and even contribute to a lack of coordination, which will effect your form and could potentially contribute to an exercise-related injury.

You see, your body needs water to help it do certain things like regulate your body temperature, carry oxygen and nutrients to cells—and to help your heart function at its best.  If you’re dehydrated, your workouts could suffer.

But how much water should you drink when you’ve got a workout planned?  And when?  Here are some tips on how much to drink before, during and after exercise: According to the American Council on Exercise (ACE), your performance can suffer when you lose “as little as 2% of body weight due to dehydration.”  You can check this by weighing yourself before and after you exercise.  Also, the color of your urine can help you determine if you’re dehydrated: a dark-gold color means you’re dehydrated.  But don’t be fooled if the color is pale (or colorless)—if you consume any kind of diuretic (like caffeine or alcohol), you may still be dehydrated.

See: Water: The Drink of Choice with Any Diet

Here are water intake guidelines for endurance exercise.  You may need more or less water depending on several factors, including (but not limited to) the intensity of your exercise or whether you’re exercising in extreme heat.

  • Before Exercise Drink 17 to 20 oz of water (2 to 2 1/2 cups) (500ml to 600ml) 2 hours before exercise
  • During Exercise Drink 7 to 10oz of water (1 to 1 1/4 cups) (200ml to 300ml) every 10 to 20 minutes of exercise.
  • After Exercise Drink 16 to 24oz of water for every pound of body weight lost (2 to 3 cups) (450 to 675ml per .5kg)

If your workout is longer than 60 minutes, you may want to consider a sports drink.  ACE recommends a sports drink with “6 to 8% carbohydrates plus at least 100mg sodium per 8oz.”

Monitor your water intake for your next few workouts and see if adding more water before, during and after a workout can make the difference between a lackluster workout or an energy-boosting workout!

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About the Author

Suzanne Hiscock is a PN1 Nutrition Coach, ACE-certified Health Coach, as well as an ACE-certified Fitness Nutrition Specialist. For over 16 years, she has been helping people lose weight and get fit through her website, FitWatch.com. Whether it's with one-on-one nutrition coaching, nutrition programs or courses, and tools or calculators, she can help you to eat better, move more and believe in yourself.