Poor Hydration – The Nemesis Of Endurance Athletes

The better hydrated you are, the easier it is for your blood to circulate and deliver oxygen and nutrients to your
body. Drinking around 1.5 litres of fluid per day is sufficient to replace normal water loss due to sweating,
urinating and breathing.

During exercise, athletes can lose 1 kg of bodyweight per hour. Excessive loss of fluid decreases blood volume and raises body temperature which places extra demand on heart, lungs and the circulatory system.

Basically – the heart has to work much harder to pump blood around the body.

This extra strain on the body and organ reserve means your body is working harder to maintain normal function and therefore performance drops, as does the ability to recover adequately. It therefore takes longer to get back to your pre exercise state.

Impacts of dehydration on performance and bodily function

A certain level of dehydrated is inevitable during intense physical activity or extended endurance type activity, but if some athletes can lose up to 1kg per hour – what does this mean for performance?

A 2% body weight loss, your maximal aerobic capacity may fall by 10-20%.

At 5%, your aerobic capacity will decrease by 30% and may cause dizziness

An 8% drop may cause dizziness and laboured breathing with the inevitable bonk.

Electrolytes including sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium and phosphorus repletion are advised following
intense activity.
Hyponatremia is the result of over-drinking water and has symptoms similar to dehydration: Dizziness, nausea,
bloating, unconsciousness.

Elite UCI Rider Will Brown – Photo Credit – James Huntly

With this said, it’s easy to see what the benefits and potential gains are to the athlete in maintaining an optimum state of hydration. Our evidence based guidelines ensure adequate fluid & electrolyte intake around an event or training.

We’ll teach you how to decide the TOTAL TYPE and TIMING of fluids suited to your exercise.

We can asses your sweat rate which can vary dramatically between individuals

We’ll help you asses your current hydration state and understand how to remedy any mistakes made with routine tips and tricks.

The Bottom Line

It’s not as easy as simply “drinking more”. The stress of a bike race, training or racing in the rain, or simply forgetting to drink is the nemesis of endurance athletes and is something which can be easily rectified with the correct tools and practice.

Get in touch to find out more about of endurance performance nutrition program.