How to prep for a workout, step one: eat something. Two: throw on clothes. Three: try to remember where you left your shoes. Step four: start hydrating. If you often skip that last step, you probably aren’t hydrating enough. Here’s how to stay hydrated before, during and after a workout.
BEFORE YOU GO
The last thing you want is to start working out when you’re already dehydrated. Hydrate before you start so your body is ready to go. Start drinking at least 15 minutes before you go – water is all you need when you haven’t sweated yet – even if you aren’t thirsty. Thirst can be, but isn’t always the best indicator of whether or not you’re hydrated, and it definitely can’t predict whether or not you’ll be dehydrated by the time your workout’s over.
STAY HYDRATED WHILE YOU WORK OUT
Again, water is the only thing you need to drink while you’re working out. You don’t need to worry about replenishing electrolytes just yet. For every 20 minutes of activity, you should try to drink at least 8 ounces of water. Drinking more than that isn’t going to hurt you, especially if you’re thirsty. If you don’t already have a reusable water bottle, and you’re a regular gym-goer, you should consider investing in one.
AFTER YOU SWEAT
For workouts under 30 minutes, water is usually enough to replace any fluid you may have lost while exercising. For anything more than that, a sports drink, one with plenty of sodium and potassium, is recommended. Try to make whatever you drink last, too; don’t just chug it. Take it in one swallow at a time. You might want to start hydrating right after you finish your workout so you don’t put it off and then forget.
HOW DO YOU KNOW IF YOU’RE DEHYDRATED?
Simple: check your pee. Other symptoms of dehydration, like headaches and fatigue, don’t always show up that fast. But if your pee looks less like lemonade and more like tea, drink some water ASAP. The clearer your urine, the better hydrated you are.
Staying hydrated, whether you’re gearing up for a workout, resting after a tough set or you’ve pushed your body to its limit, is essential. It might help to get into the habit of carrying around, drinking from and refilling a reusable water bottle throughout the day so it becomes second nature. It is possible to overdo it, but you’d honestly have to try pretty hard to overdose on water. (Don’t try.)