Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The Heat is Coming--Will You Be Hydrated Enough?

So it may seem a little untrue to those of you where the high tomorrow is, like, negative 11. The thoughts and best wishes of all the triathletes in warmer climes are with you. But in places like LA, the heat has been coming. Slowly but surely. And with heat comes a whole new game of hydration and nutrition to keep your performance at top notch!

Hydrate or Die

TriDiva's first Camelback held about 20 oz of water, and had little water droplets with scary faces all over it that said, "Hydrate or DIE!" Subtle? No. Cool looking? Hell yea! And while she wasn't really paying attention to the advice of those little water droplets when she bought it (the Camelback was purple. She was 12.), she gets it now. Those little water droplets were little fairy godmothers in disguise. Or something like that.


During the colder months, we sometimes forget to adequately hydrate ourselves. We don't feel sweat dripping down our faces, arms, legs, back, neck, etc...and think we're not loosing too much H2O. Then we carry this very bad habit over into the warmer months with disastrous consequences.

What does dehydration do to your performance?

As your body temperature rises, your body sweats to help cool yourself down. Water also plays a key role in your metabolism AND lubricates your muscles and joints. It is the basis of human life. And if you're not getting enough, you're in big trouble.


Even minimal body water loss can have big bad consequences. Besides a resulting electrolyte imbalance, here is a table that shows you just what's going on in your poor water starved body:

% Body Weight Loss Estimated % Performance Drop Normal Temperatures High Temperatures and/or Strenuous Exercise
1-2% 5-10% Impaired Judgment, Irritability, Headache, Muscular Aches Sweating, Flushed Face
3% 15% Thirst Reflex Initiated, Sense of Fatigue, Tight Sore Muscles, Increased effects of 1-2% Symptoms Profuse Sweating, Noticeably (to others) Impaired Judgment and Confusion
4-6% 25-35% Profound Thirst, Dizziness, Muscle Cramps, Weakness, Fatigue Very Irritable, May Act Irrational, Pale, Severe Headache Especially at Base of Skull
7-8% 40-45% Nausea, Vomiting, Severe Vertigo or Dizziness, Somewhat Irrational, Severe Muscle Cramps, Staggering Cold, Clammy Skin even though Core Body Temperature may be 104 o F or higher, May Have Stopped Sweating
9-10% 50-55% Collapse, Very Irrational, Unconscious Skin Pale, Cold and Clammy, Stopped Sweating, Muscles Tense & Contracted, Pupils Normal or Dilated, Pulse Weak and Rapid, Low Blood Pressure, Respiration Shallow
8-10%+ 45-55% Heat Stroke *Skin temperature may be 102-104 o F and the core temperature may be over 108 o F which, if prolonged, will lead to kidney failure and death. Heat Stroke Skin Red, Dry, & Hot, Sweating has Stopped, Severe Headache, Extremely Weak, Numbness and Tingling in Extremities, Muscles Tense and Convulsive, Confusion, Dark Urine (if any), Pupils Contracted, Pulse Strong and Bounding, Rapid/Shallow/Labored Respiration, Delirious, Unconscious, Comatose

So as you can see, DRINK! And replace electrolytes on a hot day by putting some Gatorade mix in your water and taking electryolyte tablets. You're a hardcore superstar. No triathlete wants to be known as the guy we all lost because he just couldn't down enough H2O. Save your heroic exit for a magnificent bike crash when you're 100 at Kona or something way cooler like that.


For more on how water effects your sports performance, check out this article (where that table came from).

Happy drinking! (WATER!)

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