How many of you have been coached to get through a wrestling practice with minimum or no water breaks? 🙋 My hand is raised. The old-school mentality on hydration has certainly been challenged more recently, especially in the wrestling world. The notion that you are a tougher athlete when you don't take water breaks is thankfully on its way out. Gone are the days where drinking water is seen as a weakness. In a sport where every little inch counts, it's been proven that proper hydration leads to better performance physically and mentally. So how we make sure we are drinking enough water?
When you only drink enough to quench your thirst throughout the day, you may not be adequately hydrated. Thirst is not the best indicator of how much fluids you have already lost. How do you lose fluids? Through sweat and through breathing. Taking this into consideration, you should be conscious about your fluid intake throughout an entire day and not only at practice. You won't be hydrated because you drank water while you were sweating at practice. Here are the best tips for working on your hydration.
1. Have a water bottle
Carry a re-fillable water bottle with you that makes it easy to consume liquids. I have stuck to water bottles with a straw, as it motivates me to drink more water due to the convenience. You should aim to drink around 90 ounces a day. As you increase your work-load in the practice room, up your intake accordingly. Adding electrolytes like nuun hydration or other hydration methods can be helpful when you need extra support. Look for drink mixes that have potassium and sodium, and contain almost no ingredients you cannot pronounce. Drink almost a full water bottle (16-20 ounces) two hours before practice, and the same amount after practice.
2. Weigh yourself
Check your weight before and after practice to monitor how much fluids you have lost. For every pound lost, drink 3 cups of fluid in order to rehydrate. After consistently doing this for a week, you should have a good understanding of how much weight you typically loose during a practice and how much fluids need to be replaced.
3. Take sips
During practice is not time to take big gulps. Feeling full and bloated is not the goal of becoming hydrated, nor should it be the goal to replace your fluids the moment you sweat it out. You should be sipping throughout practice so that you are not uncomfortable. Keep your bottle close by the wrestling mat or workout room so you can grab it quickly at break times. This is something you should also apply during your competition day as well as around weigh-ins. Having a re-hydration schedule like this one, can help ensure you don't fall off track.
4. Check on color
The easiest way to know if you are getting enough fluids is by checking the color of your urine. By using the hydration chart from Team USA, you can judge where your hydration levels are throughout the day. Make sure you catch the early signs of dehydration like pulse rate, dizziness, headaches, nausea, lack of sweating, fatigue, and cramping. If you are noticing any of these symptoms early on, immediately drink two liters of fluid to alleviate the possibilities of dehydration worsening.