Endurance athletes — Spartans especially — know the importance of drinking enough water to stay hydrated, especially before, during, and after workouts. However, there are times when water alone won’t cut it, and those times come frequently when you’re in training mode (particularly during the extreme heat of spring and summer months).
To avoid risking heat exhaustion or stroke, along with headache, nausea, impaired cognitive function, and weakened performance, you need to replenish your electrolytes, and water only has trace amounts. These three key situations may require you to consume more than just water to avoid dehydration and skirt plummeting performance.
When Is Water Not Enough to Avoid Dehydration?
1. When Your Body Temperature Is Soaring
If you called off your training session every brutally hot summer day, you’d get nowhere. But you do want to wear light clothing, avoid peak heat hours, and make an important change to your hydration routine, according to personal trainer Mark Nemish.
Along with sipping water, hydrate every day with a product that will supply electrolytes and glucose and replenish vitamins and minerals lost through sweat.
2. When Your Sweat Rate Is Extremely High
If you're sweating like crazy, you’re losing electrolytes such as sodium (evidenced by the white rings on your hats and shirts) in those rivulets.
“As you lose the electrolytes, it’s hard for cells to aid in muscle contraction,” Nemish says.
3. When You Have Muscle Cramps
According to Nemish, cramping and contractions indicate that “you’re already dehydrated and your body is shutting down.” Stop, sip some water with an electrolyte booster to replenish your electrolytes, and stretch. (But don’t sit, which could cause muscle injury.)
Feeling better? Get back out there.