As much as we all love coffee, it’s not the most ideal beverage to sip while exercising (believe me, I have tried). But worse than drinking coffee is not drinking any water while you exercise. No matter if you are lifting weights, running or even if you are in the swimming pool, you need to drink water while you are active.
So how much water should you drink during a workout?
It is nearly impossible to get a specific amount of exactly how much you as an individual need to drink daily. There are a lot of variables to consider when attempting to know how much you need to drink such as:
- Intensity of activity level
- How much you perspire
- The size of your body
- Weather and humidity levels
A good starting point would be to first be aware of how much you drink on average over the course of one full week (7 days). That way you can see specifically how much you are getting on a work day versus a weekend day.
Once you have your average that you are starting with, you can increase slowly every few days or every week. For example, let’s say you drink 60 ounces on average. It’s recommended that you increase your intake by 10 ounces every 3-6 days. Overtime, you will build your levels of water intake and help your overall hydration.
A few good ways to measure your intake:
- Plant Nanny: a fun app that was created to keep you motivated to drink water by virtually growing plants as you log your water intake.
- My Fitness Pal: an app mainly used for food logging, but also has a water tracking section. You can easily add how many ounces you drink as you drink them to tally up your total.
- Buy a gallon of water. A gallon is 120 ounces. Pour the water you drink from the gallon into a cup. You will be able to visually see how much of the gallon you drink and can incrementally attempt to drink more and more, building your way up.
The Importance of Hydration During Exercise
Making sure you are hydrated for your exercise and during exercise is important because you will have noticeably more or less energy depending on how much or how little you are hydrated. Feeling sluggish is not very motivating for any workout and if you are going to put the time in for the workout, you may as well get as much out if it as possible.
More severe side effects of dehydration are muscle cramping, dizziness, light-headedness or weakness. Unfortunately, dehydration can cause an intense ripple effect over your whole body and it’s easily preventable.
Your best bet for hydration is good ol’ fashioned water (filtered of course) but if you need something to change it up, you have a few options.
On top of plain filtered water, you can also reach for a little fresh mint, sliced cucumber or lemon wedges to add for a flavor profile change. You can get a pitcher for your refrigerator at home like this and try all sorts of combinations. A personal favorite is mint and blackberries and cucumbers. Or you can grab one of the single bottle infusers like this and take it wherever you go!
Coconut water and electrolyte tablets are also very popular ways to increase the electrolytes we lose while we sweat during workouts. You won’t need it daily most likely, but blending them in on your more intense workout days and/or when the weather temperatures soar will be best.
Hydration also comes from herbal teas, iced or hot! So no matter what season, drinking a glass or two of herbal tea can increase your water intake. I love Hibiscus and Rose Tips tea from Traditional Medicinals because it is good either hot or cold.
Don’t forget, the temperature of your water can also make it more or less appealing to you. I personally prefer more room temperature water but my spouse loves it ice cold.
Tips for Staying Hydrated During a Workout
If you are doing steady pace workouts like a run, setting a timer for every 10 min to sip 4-6oz would help (or approximately 2 songs on your playlist). If you are lifting weights, drink out of your bottle every set. Aim to finish your bottle or even possibly refill before the end of your workout.
Hydration starts well before the workout so ensure you have had water within a few hours of the start of your training session. Getting ahead of the game will help so you don’t have to play catch up or deal with all the side effects.
Part of proper hydration is also making sure you take it easy on caffeine intake so balance how many cups of coffee you have (even though it is easy to overdo).
If you’d like help with drinking more water, creating healthier eating habits, or simply getting into the right mindset for consistent physical activity, you can chat with a coach about your goals and how we can help you succeed.