Nutrition Tips: Be the Best Exerciser

This is fourth in a series of five blogs, courtesy of Alicia Fogarty, a registered dietician at Carolinas Healthcare Systems. Click here to view parts one, two and three. Each week Alicia will discuss one tip that will help you fuel your exercise and improve your fitness routine.

Hydrate! – Especially if it is hot.

We all know that we need to drink fluids, but the question is are you really on top of whether you are hydrated adequately?  Did you know as little as a 2 percent weight loss from exercise can have serious consequences? It can lead to fatigue, decrease performance or possibly lead to heat illness. Follow a fluid replacement plan to help avoid these issues.

Hydrating before, during and after exercise is essential to performance. One way to monitor this is to weigh yourself before and after a workout. Ideally, you won’t lose weight; it should stay about the same. If you do, for each pound that you lose you need to replace with 2 – 3 cups of fluid.

If you are losing weight regularly you should reexamine your hydration plan. Experiment during training sessions to determine the amount of fluid to drink that feels comfortable and allows you to perform at your best level while maintaining a proper hydration level. Also, monitor your urine color; clear to pale yellow colored urine is optimal.  Don’t wait until you are thirsty to drink. While exercising, thirst can be one of the last signs of needing fluid and you might already be on your way to dehydration.

When the temperature rises you need to be more aware of your hydration level. You sweat more as well as lose more fluids by other means when it is hot.  Staying ahead of the hydration curve in the summer is very important.

Check out next week’s blog for tips on refueling post-workout.

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