Just one extra base hit can mean the difference
between an exhilarating win or a devastating loss. At any
level of competition, an athlete performs his or her best
through a winning combination of mental focus, practice, strength
and conditioning and most often overlooked
When it comes to gaining the competitive
edge, Sports Nutrition and its impact on an athlete's performance
is a well kept secret. Coaches are just becoming aware of
the fact that proper hydration is one of the easiest, inexpensive
and most important tools an athlete can use to enhance performance?
Hydration (how much fluid you drink before,
during and after a game) was the very first topic I discussed
with the Cincinnati Reds at Spring Training.
Why Is Fluid
Intake So Important?
Athletic performance can decline as much as 10% with as little
as 1% body fluid lost. i.e., A 200 lb. athlete only has to
lose 2 lbs. of body fluid for a 10% performance decline to
Every 2.2 lbs. of water lost during exercise results in the following
||Heart rate increases eight beats per minute - With
an elevated heart rate the body has to exert more energy
to do the same job.
||Cardiac oxygen output declines by 1 liter
a minute - This means less oxygen is going to the person's
muscles which can lead to a decrease in athletic performance.
||Core temperature increases .3 degrees Celsius - When
the body experiences this rise in temperature it has to
work harder to cool down. In an effort to cool down, the
body pulls fluids away from the working muscles and redistributes
the fluids to vital organs. Since muscular movement is
dependent on the presence of water, low concentrations
of water in the muscles can cause muscle weakness and
loss of the critical control needed by an athlete for
In the body, water works as a shock absorber. If
water is deficient, even for a brief period of time, there's
less fluid present to protect the joints. This can make an
athlete more susceptible to injury.
You Drink Water Vs. A Sports Beverage?
Prevailing wisdom indicates water is just fine when a practice
or a game lasts less than 60 minutes. If practice or a game
lasts 60 to 90 minutes or longer, a 6-8% carbohydrate solution
sports drink is recommended. A preliminary study involving
baseball players shows energy levels remain within optimal
levels if these carbohydrate beverages are consumed throughout
the activity. Examples of these carbohydrate drinks are All-sport,
Gatorade, Powerade and LowOz. Whether you're drinking water
or a sports drink, follow the drinking regimen listed below.
For Determining Your Optimal Fluid Needs
||2-3 hours before a workout or competition
drink 2 cups of fluids.
||Then 1 hour before a workout or competition
drink 1 cup of fluid.
||15 minutes before the workout or competition
drink ¸ cup of fluid.
||Immediately before the workout or competition
weigh and record your weight.
||Every 10-20 minutes during the workout or
competition drink ¸ cup of fluid.
||Then right after a workout or competition
weigh yourself. Then, drink 3 cups of fluid for every
pound of weight you've lost.
||Experiment with this formula and then adjust
accordingly for each athletic activity you engage in until
you find that your weight remains the same from the start
of the activity through to the very end. To achieve peak
performance, your goal is to consistently replace any
fluids you're likely to lose.
Group Or Type Of Athlete Benefits Most From Proper Hydration?
No matter what your age, sport or level of competition, proper
hydration will maximize your performance potential. When it
comes to the competitive edge, fluids are a critical part
of the sports nutrition "mix". Other areas to pay
close attention to include: pre-game and post-game meal planning,
daily training menus, use of supplements and the athlete's
optimal proportion of lean muscle mass to percent body fat.