If you’ve weathered at least one summer here, you know that Washington doesn’t mess around with heat and humidity (great idea building the nation’s capital on a swamp, Founding Fathers!).
You know what we’re about to tell you — drink water. But do you really know how much hydration affects your training?
Hydration, Performance, and Recovery
The big takeaway from what follows: It is essential that we START our workouts in a hydrated state.
This means consuming at least 1 pint of water within a 2 hour window prior to working out. Anything less, or beyond that 2 hour range, will leave our bodies in danger of dehydration.
Moreover, with the short duration of our workouts (or at least the majority of them), being properly hydrated before hand is essential. There isn’t enough time within the workout to grab an adequate amount of water, and the water that is consumed won’t really make it through our system fast enough to benefit us.
But just drinking an extra glass of water before class isn’t enough. You need to stay hydrated throughout the day to train at your best.
By the Numbers
Human’s are 45-70% water.
Muscle tissue is 75% water.
A human can survive 4x longer without food than without water, and even a slight drop in fluids as a percent of bodyweight can have a dramatic effect:
1% = Elevation of core body temperature, impaired performance
3% = Significantly impaired performance
5% = Cardiovascular Strain
7% = Decreased ability to regulate heat
10% = Heat Stroke, unconsciousness
These effects are compounded in a hot, humid climate like DC:
At 90 degrees and 40% humidity, the heat index (what the temperature feels like to the body) is roughly 92;
At 90 degrees and 60% humidity, the heat index is 100 degrees;
At 90 degrees, and 80% humidity, the index is 112 degrees.
Thanks a Lot, Founding Fathers
The problem with higher humidity like DC’s, besides making us feel hotter and more uncomfortable, is that we actually become hotter.
Our bodies’ first line of defense to getting hot is to sweat; as air absorbs the moisture from sweat, we feel cooler. Except, when it’s humid, the air, already saturated with water, doesn’t absorb the sweat-moisture. Thus, we don’t feel cooler, and our bodies have to compensate by working harder and harder to try and cool us down.
Of course, when sweating doesn’t work to cool us down and we continue to heat up, overheating results, which causes loss of the water and chemicals that the body needs. Overheating, or more commonly, heat exhaustion, can lead to dehydration and chemical imbalances within the body.
In short, outside of activity, you should be consuming half your body weight in ounces of water a day.
For more on the essential needs of hydration and the impact it has on performance, we refer you to the video HYDRATION ADVICE from coach Max Wunderle of CrossFit Endurance/Tri-Max Fitness (video also available at this web address: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8pB2HO188to)
Convinced? Good. Now drink up, and we’ll see everyone back in the gym for some more Summer fun!