Why You Can’t Just Obey Your Thirst
Hot days, training, and not enough sleep make your body tired and thirsty. And if you don’t pay attention, you might not drink enough to stay hydrated.
Thirst is the body’s way of telling you that it is low on fluids. So, once you feel thirsty, you’re actually already dehydrated. Ok, you might be thinking: So what?
Well, I hate to break it to you my friend, but for an athlete who is already expending energy training or competing, dehydration is just not gonna fly.
Waiting until you feel thirsty to remind you that you need to have a glass of water might be just fine for the average Joe, but you’re not one; You’re an ATHLETE. And just as that requires a higher level of training and preparation than the next person, it also requires that you pay more attention to what you put inside your body!
And if you aren’t putting in the right fuel, you’re just not going to perform at your best. It’s as simple as that.
Ok, ok, I know what you’re thinking. ‘If it’s not enough to drink when I’m thirsty, how can I be sure I’m drinking enough?’ Well, I’m glad you asked!
Have a headache and don’t know why? You’re probably dehydrated.
Feeling more tired than usual? You’re probably dehydrated.
Did you catch a cramp in your sleep last night? Ouch! Yea, you’re definitely dehydrated.
(You can read more about muscle cramps in this post)
Ok, so let's dive in to the 3 easy ways to help you make sure you are drinking enough.
So how can you make sure you are drinking enough throughout the day?
Easy. What’s the color of your pee? Yeah. Seriously.
The easiest way to tell if you’re properly hydrated or at the other end of the spectrum, is to take a look at your urine. Specifically the color. You want it to be a light yellow. If yours is a bit too dark, start drinking until you notice you are going to the bathroom more often. Like, A LOT more. You’ll notice that you’re getting up to go to the bathroom a few times in one hour and you’ll see your pee is nice and light. Maybe almost clear!
Here's a urine color chart to use as a guide:
(A water bottle that is) Chances are, you’re busy. I get it, we all are! These days it’s almost impossible to remember anything unless you have a million alerts on your phone to remind you, so one of the easiest ways you can make sure you REMEMBER to drink enough during the day is to carry your own water bottle! Simple, I know!
I know it might seem silly, but most of us don’t do it. Try it out! Grab a bottle and keep it with you throughout the day, and you’ll be drinking and refilling that bad boy on autopilot before you know it!
I know, I know. People hear ‘add salt’ and they immediately think HIGH CHOLESTEROL, HIGH SODIUM, HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE! Ok, sure. But I’m only suggesting that you are mindful of sprinkling some salt on your meals on game day. This will make you want to drink more and will also replenish some of the electrolytes in your body.
Don’t like the extra seasoning? No worries. Snack on some pickles and bananas (preferably not together! gross!) or dip your meal into some soy sauce. These foods contain sodium and potassium which will help replenish those electrolyte levels where they need to be to keep you hydrated and ready for action!
Bonus Tip: Freeze your favorite sports drink into a popsicle mold for an even easier way to replenish electrolytes and stay hydrated during those hot summer days 😉