Dehydration can hurt your reaction time, decision making skills, energy, speed, power and mood – especially in the heat. Yet many athletes don’t consume enough fluid.
And, about 50% of athletes start practice dehydrated. If you start practice / training dehydrated then lose a ton of fluid through sweat and you don’t drink nearly enough during practice, you’ll end up dehydrated daily. This can make it much harder to reach your potential.
There are 2 main reasons athletes don’t drink enough:
1️⃣ Coaches don’t give enough breaks (extremely common at all levels)
2️⃣ Some athletes have not trained themselves to consume more fluid during practice or training sessions.
3 easy methods to assess hydration:
1️⃣ Check Color and Quantity.
Check your urine color and quantity in the morning. Your morning urine should be light in color (think dilute lemonade) and plentiful. Urine color and quantity after training / practice is not a good indicator of how hydrated you are. Plus, a number of foods, food colors, supplements, even Listerine (because of its color; but you which you shouldn’t be using anti-bacterial mouthwash anyway if you want your blood vessels to expand nicely to accommodate greater blood flow) can influence your urine color.
2️⃣ Check Bathroom Use.
Consider how often you have to use the bathroom. If you are going > 3 hours without urinating (not counting during a game / practice) you aren’t drinking enough fluid.
3️⃣ Weigh yourself right before you practice (with minimal clothing on) and towel off and weigh yourself after you finish practice. The result is how much fluid you lose through sweat that you didn’t make up for through drinking during practice. Keep in mind you do not want to make up for all fluid losses and you definitely do not want to weigh more after practice than you did before.
PS! Remember not to over consume water or a no-electrolyte beverage like Body Armor without taking in enough salt or electrolyte supplements. Doing so can lead to a dangerous condition called hypothermia. Sports drinks help. Use them!