Mar 26

Re-hydrate – Refuel – Recover – Post-Training Recovery and Prevention Part II

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Guidelines and Suggestions – Part II


Just like a car, the body has to expel excess heat generated from ‘burning fuel.’ Unlike a car, however, the human body’s coolant isn’t re-circulating in a sealed radiator system – once it is gone, it has to be replaced! We do not possess a built-in gauge or indicator that tells us the amount of coolant left in the body system! We can’t run a dipstick down our throat and get a reading that says, …‘Add a quart!’…The body contains 60% to 75% water of muscle tissue, depending on age, and 10% of the fatty tissue, with slight variance between males and females. One to two percent loss of body weight already causes a decline in performance while rapid loss of 5% in body weight can reduce muscular capacity by 20-30 percent. Fluid in sweating dissipates heat through the skin and large quantities of fluids can be lost, about 2 cups (1 pound) of sweat for every 300 calories of heat dissipated). This is the reason body weight fluctuates. The loss of water is difficult to gage in swimmers due to the immersion of the body. Therefore, for every pound of body weight lost 2 cups of fluids should be ingested. If too little fluid is taken in and fluid loss is too great the body’s ability to accomplish important functions are reduced and the ability to maintain quality performance is limited.

There are physiological signs for dehydration but only at the ‘warning-danger’ level. This means, it is usually too late to maintain optimal performance. By the time one feels thirsty, the 2% body-weight water loss is already into the impairment zone. Therefore, an adequate amount of fluids has to be consumed to maintain top athletic performance.

  • When sweating is profuse (at times difficult to tell), it is very important to replace fluid loss quickly. Weighing ‘in and out’ before and after training determines the actual weight loss condition, the amount of fluid lost, and therefore the amount of replacement needed.
  • The difference in kilogram per pounds lost represents the amount of fluid lost. It is suggested:
    • Drinking 11/2 liters = 6 cups of fluid for every kg of body weight lost
    • According to medical experts: In one hour of exercise the body can lose more than a quart of water, depending on the intensity level and environment.
    • The American Council on Exercise recommends drinking 17 to 20 oz. of water two hours prior to exercise.
    • Every 10 to 20 minutes during exercise one should drink 7 to 10 oz and 16 to 24 oz. of water for every pound of body weight lost as a result of exercise.
    • Research shows that anything above 1% loss of body weight results in declined performance
    • At 4% loss of body weight, performance level is reduced by 30%
  • Swimmers can consume some salty fluid and foods for electrolyte (sodium) replacement and better fluid retention; it depends, however, on the length of training, humidity factor, hot weather, and the amount of sweating.

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