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How to Hydrate Adequately as an Athlete

Optimal performance relies on having enough fluid in our bodies.

All of our food fuel sources and vitamins and minerals rely on water to travel to and from our cells.

Oxygen also travels through water into our muscle cells and carbon dioxide comes out.

This exchange of fuel, oxygen, and waste happens all of the time, but it's amped up especially during sports (which is also why we breathe harder and faster).

So for an athlete, maintaining adequate hydration is absolutely essential to performing at your best.


As an athlete, not properly hydrating means a decline in:

  • Performance

  • Stamina and Endurance

  • Cognition

  • Recovery

  • Metabolism

It also means an increased rate of perceived fatigue (how hard it feels like you're working while training or competing), inadequate hydration also means a higher core body temperature and an increased risk of injury.

Maintaining adequate hydration:

  • Minimizes cramping

  • Keeps your joints loosened

  • Improves recovery

  • Delays fatigue

  • Maintains cognitive function and performance

  • Helps protect against injury


Athletes can check and monitor hydration at any point by checking their urine color.

A light yellow like lemonade is ideal, like the first 3 colors. If it's darker like apple juice, you're already dehydrated and need to drink more fluids.

Also, keep in mind that clear urine isn't necessarily a good thing. Clear urine may be a sign your body isn't adequately absorbing water and you need more electrolytes.


Learn more about hydration and all aspects of Performance Nutrition for athletes through my Performance Nutrition course!

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