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How Much Water To Drink While Working Out?

You can improve your performance simply by drinking enough water - know how!

Whether you’re an elite athlete or a weekend warrior, drinking water during exercise is essential to get the most out of your workout and feel good while you’re doing it. 

When you’re working out, you lose water both through your breath and through sweat. With just a loss of 2% of your body weight in fluid can decrease performance by up to 25%. And if you start out dehydrated, you won’t get a good workout. You’ll get dizzy, lethargic, your muscles won’t work as well, you won’t feel as sharp mentally, and you’ll get cramps sooner.

This is because water helps your body to exercise efficiently. Water is a vital part of the many chemical reactions in the body and with dwindling water supply, these reactions slow down which causes tissues to heal slower, muscle recovery to be slower and the body to not function at 100% efficiency.

On the contrary, with you being well hydrated, the heart does not have to work as hard to pump blood to the body, and oxygen and nutrients can be transported more efficiently to the muscles you’re working during exercise which results in more energy and easier to conquer exercises that earlier seemed harder. 

How Much Water Do You Need?

So how much water should you drink before, during, and after a workout? First, make sure you are well hydrated to begin with. Drink fluids throughout the day and follow this easy formula for ideal hydration:

  • One to two hours before your workout, drink 500 ml - 600 ml of water
  • 15 minutes before you begin, drink between 250 ml and 300 ml of water
  • During your workout, drink another 250 ml every 15 minutes
This is however subjective and will change based on the intensity of the workout and the intensity of sweating - for example, your water intake will need to be higher if you are exercising outdoors in very hot weather and sweating profusely. 

For regular athletes, it is a good practice to weight before and after the workout to know if you need to adjust the water intake for the future workouts. Generally a rule of thumb is for every kg of weight lost in the work out, replace with 500 - 600 ml of water. 

Also remember that for most people who are working out for less than an hour at a time can get everything they need with just water - no need of fancy sports drinks and electrolytes. 

Can You Drink Too Much Water?

It’s possible to drink too much water, but difficult to do.There is a condition called hyponatremia, usually found in endurance athletes. With hyponatremia, the blood becomes excessively diluted from too much water and sodium levels drop to dangerously low levels. This can lead to nausea, headaches, confusion, fatigue, and in extreme cases, coma and death.

But you’d have to drink gallons of water to suffer hyponatremia -- enough to gain weight over the course of a workout, which is rare.

In a nut shell, if you weren't drinking enough water while working out before, you will be amazed with how much better you feel by just sipping on some water.

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