Nutrition Tip #1: Drink a full glass of water as soon as you can in the morning and hydrate throughout the day.
Our bodies can often mistake thirst for hunger — we think we’re hungry but really we are just dehydrated. Stay hydrated! Here’s how:
On average men need 3.7 liters of fluids per day. That’s almost two 2 liter coke bottles, the big party size coke bottle. Women need more like 2.7, a little over one and a half party coke bottles of water per day. Urine color is a better guideline for staying hydrated. Aim for light yellow to clear. Weather, activity level, illness, and age can all impact water needs. It’s a good idea to weigh yourself before and after exercise, especially after endurance exercise. Drink 16 oz (one regular sized coke bottle) of water for every pound you’ve lost. Camelbak has a handy hydration calculator to use as a good starting point for gauging the proper amount of water to drink during exercise. Even though I’ve said the word coke many times in this post as a unit of measurement, I do not recommend drinking coke with the intent of getting and staying hydrated. Drink water!
Replenishing electrolytes is also a concern. Electrolytes are essential nutrients (including potassium, sodium, calcium, magnesium) that help maintain fluid balance. They also conduct electrical activity in your body and are responsible for muscle contractions and neural activity. Electrolyte imbalance occurs when you lose an excessive amount of body fluids. I recommend skipping the sugary drinks or limiting them to actually in-race or in-training if those events last longer than one hour. Here are some natural ways to replenish electrolytes:
- Potassium: Coconut water and bananas
- Sodium: A pinch of salt in water (sodium is everywhere, so if you eat processed foods at all, chances are you are not deficient)
- Magnesium: Almonds
- Calcium: Green leafy vegetables like kale and collard greens, and milk (if your body is ok with lactose)