Food = Energy

Food = Energy

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Hydrate me!

It's finally here!!!! The day after Monday. The day before Wednesday. You know what day that is! That's right: Tuesday. Which would normally never be significant in any way unless it was an election year in the US, but today, this first (Tues)day of July, is indeed a significant day. "Why so, Vegan Runner?" you may ask. Well I'll tell ya, Curious George.

USA vs. Belgium. That's why.

So if you are one of those lucky ducks who, you know, have jobs and are being productive with your lives, here's just another World Cup reason to shut down at work from about 3-5.

Now, yesterday I promised that I would discuss the importance of hydration today and I'm going to keep said promise. I'm not going to hit you with a bunch of scientific terminology or exercise science jargon. I plan on keeping this simple, because that's really all it should be made out to be.

When it comes to hydration, remember this: you need to be hydrated each and every day. Hydration isn't about not feeling thirsty. You may drink a glass of water and feel as though your thirst has been quenched. This may be true, but it doesn't mean that your body is sufficiently hydrated. You should be drinking water every day, with every meal. So many people throw out numbers such as 8 cups a day or x number of ounces a day; it can get pretty jumbled. Just do this: drink a glass of water in the morning and just about 2 full medium/large-sized glasses of water with every main meal you have. This should be simple enough to remember and easy enough to follow.

Using these glasses as a guide, the left two glasses are fine to use to gauge the appropriate size of a "full glass". The flowery glass is a bit too small in regards to the above explanation. 

If you are especially active during the summer in terms of how you exercise or you work outdoors, you may need to be drinking more water.

For runners or endurance athletes that train outdoors such as triathletes and cyclists, it is important that you are replenishing what is lost when you sweat. Sweating is beautiful. I truly believe this. I hate sweating when I'm in a shirt and tie going to work or somewhere nice, but sweating in any other circumstance is just a wonderful mechanism of the human body. However, while we sweat to cool our bodies down, we not need only to drink water to replenish water lost, we need to take in vital electrolytes that are lost when sweating excessively.

This is the reason, as youngsters, our parents bought us bottles of Gatorade and, later, Powerade before our soccer games or softball practices. These drinks are great because they have adequate amounts of sodium, potassium, chloride and other electrolytes found in much lower quantities in these sports drinks. The negative side of these two brands: sugar. These sports drinks mimic juices which is why children love them so much. There is way too much sugar in these drinks which are often consumed by children when they are not even exercising.

Take a look at this image:

Yes, these are sugar cubes and you can see just how much sugar is in these bottles.

Just as our palates mature and we grow out of Easy Macs and chicken fingers, so too should our selections for sports drinks become a bit more sophisticated.

I introduce to you....the electrolyte tablets.

More on this tomorrow! For today: 2 glasses of water with your lunch and dinner. And a glass at night wouldn't hurt either!

Happy Running.

  Go Team USA!

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