For 17 days in February (9th -25th) the world will be watching athletes compete in the XXIII Olympic Winter Games. Athletes will be competing in 102 events in 15 different sport disciplines in PyeongChang, South Korea. While watching the Winter Olympics, some may wonder, “What could be the difference between the gold medal and bronze medal athletes?”
An athlete’s hydration status could be one of the factors. The United States Olympic Committee (USOC) Sport Nutrition Team published a hydration factsheet that states, “Hydrated cells are critical to get the most of daily training and facilitate recovery. The effects of significant dehydration can take hours and even days to recover from.” Therefore, it is imperative for athletes to prevent dehydration from the get-go.
“Athletes should be consuming .5 to 1 ounce of water per pound of body weight every day,” said Amanda Carlson-Phillips, vice president of nutrition and research for Athlete’s Performance in Phoenix, Arizona, who regularly consults with Olympic contenders and pros.
To train like an Olympic champion, hydration status must be considered and monitored. You may be asking how much fluid is enough fluid? Fluid needs are based on the individual, type of exercise and the environment. The USOC Sport Nutrition Team provides these general guidelines:
- Drink 16+ ounces of water 2-3 hours before training
- Drink 8 ounces of water 15 minutes before training
- Drink enough while training to limit dehydration to less than 2% body weight loss
- Drink another 16-24 ounces for every pound lost after training
Both Katie Uhlaedner, USA Skeleton Racer, and Lindsey Vonn, USA Alpine Skier, will be competing in the Winter Olympics and understand the importance of hydration. Katie stays hydrated by “drinking a lot of water and taking omega 3s every day.” Lindsey provides hydration advice for young athletes. “I know kids don’t like to drink water, but its important to stay hydrated, so get as much water down as possible.”
Do you drink enough water? Would you make Katie and Lindsey proud? If your answer is no, here are a few simple ways to increase your daily fluid intake.
- Keep water close so you see it and drink it often throughout the day
- Aim to drink at least 2 cups of water with each meal
- Choose fruits and vegetables as they have a high-water content
- Use a straw to drink
- Set a daily fluid intake goal
- Add natural flavor by adding different fruits, vegetables and herbs
Even though you may not be competing on the Olympic stage, you can stay hydrated like an Olympic champion. Drink up and good luck Team USA!