Water & Your Body's Optimal Performance

Water loss of even 1% of body mass (700ml for a 70kg person) will see performance decline. Therefore we must be aware that our body is continually losing water that must be replaced.

Urine and sweating are obvious ways to lose water, bur every time we expel a breath we lose valuable water. Recall the last time you cleaned your glasses. Did you hold them up to an open mouth and breathe on them? What happened was that the water vapour from your breath was condensed on the lens and that thin film of water was sufficient to do the job. Our breathing rate increases rapidly with exercise, up to five times our resting rate.

Taking 400 – 600ml of cold water 15 minutes before exercise is probably the best option to ensure the body is fully hydrated before exercise. Then depending upon the temperature and humidity, regular trips to the water fountain or water bottle will help maintain the balance. Unless you are into marathon workouts or endurance activities electrolyte (minerals such as sodium, potassium, magnesium and calcium) replacements are not really needed. In fact even though sweat appears to be quite salty it contains lower levels than that of the blood.

Replacing the stores used for energy and the need of proteins for repair and growth is an important post workout strategy. This can best be achieved by the consumption of a drink that contains a number of key nutrients that have been proven to assist in the recovery process. A mix of carbohydrates (maltodextrins are best), creatine, BCAA’s or HMB and glutamine will provide a proven boost to your recovery and hence the growth potential of your workouts.

The evaporation of sweat provides the refrigeration mechanism to cool the body. This is achieved by the use of around 2 – 4 million sweat lands distributed on the surface of the body. Without exercise most people lose between 500 to 700ml of sweat per day. Vigorous exercise in a hot environment can result in as much as 3 litres lost per hour.

Your sweating is a normal and efficient response to bring your body temperature down to a safe level.Differences in sweating patterns could stem from a number of reasons. First, being fitter equates to expending less energy at the same work load and thus not raising body temperature as much. Second, the addition of more body fat, which has an insulation effect trapping more heat inside the body. Third, above average body weight means your ratio of surface area to mass would be less, consequently making your body sweat more to achieve the same effect. Finally, a fitter person is more sensitive to body temperature rise. This causes an earlier response to sweating with larger volumes being produced than their less fit counterparts.

Sweating more is definitely a better option than sweating less.