Let’s talk about how to stay hydrated… There are a number of things you need to do. Most athletes get dehydrated in the hot Summer season, but you can get dehydrated in the Winter for different reasons. It’s important for athletes to know when, what and how much to drink. Water of course is most important, but there are a few other things you can add and maybe subtract. Besides not drinking enough water, being in the sun are the two main things that drain you.
When to hydrate before games
For games you want to try and stay 36 hours ahead. Example: If your game is Saturday morning you should start drinking a few extra cups of water on Thursday evening.
If you have a tournament or the temperature is 90+ degrees add a little sports drink.
Start drinking a little sports drink 10-30 minutes before warm up. Hopefully you have already been drinking enough water the day before and hours leading up to the game. Continue drinking water before and during the game, as H2O should be what you drink most.
During and after warm up drink another 4-6 ounces of sports drink, plus water.
At halftime drink 4-12 ounces and then save 4-8 ounces for after the game, especially if you have another game that day or the next.
What you should be drinking
Water is the number one thing to drink.
There are other fluids you can add IF the weather is hot or you have multiple games or hours of training.
5 things to add besides water when hot or training many hours.
- Liquid iv [I’ve heard the yellow or lemon is not a good flavor, but I liked the blue colored one]
- Pedialyte [most don’t like the flavor, but you don’t need to drink a lot of it] and it works good. There are different flavors.
- Coconut water
Fluids that dehydrate you
Coffee, tea and sodas/fountain drinks are 3 things you should avoid during tournaments, tryouts or games.
However, drinking tea and coffee in moderate amounts won’t do any harm.
The reason these drinks can dehydrate you is the stimulant caffeine and sugar.
Healthline states that caffeine becomes dehydrating only in doses around 250-300 mg, equivalent to 16-24 ounces of coffee.
If you have to have these, just don’t intake more than 1 cup and make sure you drink an extra water.
How much fluids should you be drinking to stay hydrated
Back in the day doctors said the average person should drink 8 cups of water per day… 1 cup = 8 ounces.
Nowadays some say a male should drink 15 cups and a female 11 cups. This isn’t even talking about athletes…
Soccer players run more than most sports, so you have to stay safe by drinking enough water. So for sure get what the average person needs to drink and then add at least 2 cups if you’re out in the sun sweating.
Gage how you feel and try drinking more some days to see if you feel the difference. Just make sure you’re adding salt/sodium when drinking extra water. You’ll learn more about this in the bottom 2 subtitles.
A lot of this depends on several things:
- Temperature and even more important if you’re in the direct sun
- How active you are
- Humidity or altitude
- Size / weight
After training the average pro soccer player in a hot climate loses 2-3 lbs of water weight. I had a teammate lose 7 lbs in 1 practice when we were in Charleston, SC. We had to weigh ourselves before and after every session. It wasn’t common to lose more than 3 lbs.
After trainings or games [within 2 hours] you should drink the same amount that you lost in water weight.
Signs you are not hydrated enough
- Dry mouth
- The color of your urine is one of the easiest ways to know if you need to drink more water. Dark yellow means you are not hydrated and then there is light yellow all the way to clear which is best.
- Light headed
- Increased thirst… If you’re thirsty after 10 minutes of training or any activity means you’re probably not drinking enough water.
- Dry skin
Foods that help you stay hydrated
Not only are these 10 foods full of vitamins to keep you healthy they also help with hydration.
- Romaine lettuce
Why adding salt to your diet helps
Below in the next subtitle, you’ll read how adding salt to my food might have prevented leg cramps…
When drinking lots of water it’s important to add salt [sodium] to your diet. It’s not like you have to add so much that your food taste bad, but just spend an extra 2-3 seconds with the salt shaker over your meals.
Drinking too much water can flush out the sodium, causing you to cramp or get dehydrated.
Is drinking too much water possible?
Yes, you can drink too much water…
Quick story: When I was playing pro with Toronto we flew across North America to play my old team, the Vancouver Whitecaps. While in the airports and on the airplane I drank 1 gallon of water. On gameday I cramped in my quads, which had never happened. Long story short – The sodium was flushed out of my body.
If I had added salt to my food and had sports drink maybe it would be a different turnout.
So, don’t try doing things you’ve never done before, especially on game day. It’s important to track how you feel when trying different foods or drinks, but try to not go overboard.
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