How to Keep Your Body Hydrated
Everyone has heard the common rule to stay hydrated is to drink lots and lots of water. Many say the guideline is to consume 8 glasses of 8 ounces each, or also know as the 8×8 rule. While this may be a good baseline to start, many other factors can increase or change the amount needed. These factors include personal diet, weight, height, environmental temperature, humidity levels, and how active one is. If the “8×8” rule sounds too intimidating, don’t stress and follow these simple tips to help stay hydrated.
Fruits and Vegetables
Drinking water is not the only way to get our body what it needs to stay hydrated and function properly. Many fruits and vegetables like cantaloupe, grapefruit, strawberries, watermelon, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, cucumber, lettuce, peppers, radish, zucchini all contain over 90% water. Others such as carrots, raspberries, pineapples, peaches, grapes, apples still contain over 80%. By adding more fruits and veggies to your everyday diet will help provide your body with some of its daily water needs. Another trendy option to incorporate fruits and vegetables into your daily routine are fruit-infuser jars or water bottles.
Water doesn’t have to be boring and infusing your water with fruit, herbs, and other flavors can make it much easier to reach your daily goal. Try adding cucumber, strawberries, blue berries, lemons, limes, and fresh herbs to create flavorful water.
Low-sodium soups, beef broths and chicken or vegetable stock can be a great way to keep your body hydrated while also having a hearty meal. Most of these soups will include some of the vegetables listed above but can be used more as larger dinners and will have a wider range of recipes to keep your diet well balanced.
Although drinking pure water will help hydrate your body faster, sometimes we can grow tired or bored with it. Beverages such as coffee, teas, lemonades, and sports drinks (learn more on these below) are all water based and can provide your body with hydration. Yes, these do have ingredients like sugars and unwanted calories but when used in moderation can be very effective to refuel the body. Consider carbonated and sparkling water in addition to regular water. Many people find that adding sparkling water and 0 calorie flavored water makes drinking water throughout the day more fun. Find yourself drinking lots of expensive sparkling water? Consider buying a Sodastream and make your own delicious sparkling beverages at home.
Not sure if you are hydrated? There are many hydration tools available to calculate the amount of water you should be drinking. One can be found at Camelbak.com.
Don’t wait until you feel thirsty to drink water! This means your body is already dehydrated.
Sports Drinks Impact on Athletic Performance
Hydration has a massive impact on athletic performance, so the obvious solution is to drink more water, right? Maybe not. In day-to-day situations, water is an ideal hydrator, but when you’re exerting yourself, factors such as fluid imbalance and electrolyte loss—which can lead to reduced performance, cramps, and other issues—come into play.
Thanks to a process called osmosis, sports drinks that are too high in sugar, do not hydrate effectively and can absorb into your system inefficiently, staying or ‘sloshing’ in your stomach, causing bloating, cramping, and again impacting your performance.
The trick to the perfect performance hydrator is balance. Because thirstiness aside, who wants to fall behind simply because they’ve got the wrong drink? Fluid loss equals power loss—and Hydrate (a member of the Beachbody Performance Line) aims to take any loss out of the equation.
“The idea of Hydrate is to optimize fluid absorption and fluid balance during exercise,” said Nima Alamdari, PhD, Executive Director of Scientific Affairs at Beachbody. “And optimizing fluid balance is important because we know it has a direct correlation to performance.”
In fact, would you believe a 1-2 percent drop in optimal body water can lead to over a 10 percent loss in maximum power? “If I’m a cyclist, I am going to be pretty interested in those numbers,” Alamdari said. “I am certainly going to want to pay attention to my hydration status because that can delay power decline and fatigue.
With that in mind, Beachbody has engineered Hydrate as part of its Performance lineup to maximize fluid absorption and is doing that through a hypotonic formula – the osmolality is lower than your blood so there is fast fluid absorption by your body.
Types of Sports Drinks
There are three basic types of sports drinks, hypotonic, isotonic and hypertonic, and all reflect their osmolality, which indicates the amount of solutes (dissolved substances) in the liquid and its rate of absorption through a permeable membrane like your gut lining.
A hypertonic drink has a higher osmolality than your blood; one that is isotonic is the same as your blood; and a hypotonic drink has a lower osmolality than your blood. Through osmosis, liquids with a lower concentration of particles will cross the membrane to where the higher concentration is in order to create fluid balance. So a hypotonic drink will enter your blood stream more quickly than an isotonic or hypertonic drink.
Traditional sports drinks on the market emphasize energy-replenishment and lean more to carbohydrates as fuel as the primary driver for performance enhancement. That in turn creates a hypertonic drink with a higher osmolality that the body will absorb more slowly. They are essentially trying to create a product that provides both energy and hydration, but the solution can lose effectiveness. While it supplies sugar for fuel, the osmolality may be too high to efficiently mitigate fluid loss. “High-sugar sports drinks are not optimal for hydration. The carbohydrate level is too high,” Alamdari said. “That can lead to delayed gastric emptying. It can sit in your stomach. Ultra-endurance athletes or marathon runners will often talk about stomach ‘sloshing’ or [gastrointestinal] distress.”
Like the entire Performance line, Hydrate is NSF Certified for Sport approved, meaning its label claims have been verified against product contents and it’s been screened for substances banned by most major athletic organizations.
Finally, Hydrate stands apart because it contains quercetin, a phytonutrient researched for its capacity to improve exercise performance, increase energy production, and reduce exercise-induced inflammation. “We included quercetin because it’s the most researched phytonutrient for improving exercise performance,” Alamdari said.
Quercetin is believed to work both acutely and chronically, meaning you should experience benefits on the day as well as through long-term use. The acute benefit works well here because the longer you exercise, the more Hydrate you drink. And the more Hydrate you drink, the more quercetin you consume to continue pushing performance.
This means it also works cumulatively with Energize, the BBP pre-workout supplement. “It complements Energize but it also has its own distinct benefits,” explained Alamdari. “We didn’t just want the most effective hydrator; we want to be the most effective performance enhancer.”