Geez, where has this heat come from?! I thought summer was still 2 months away? I can’t say I’m a fan of sweating buckets at 5:30 in the morning…on a wind trainer… inside! Or a fan of my water bottle turning into a thermos on long weekend rides. It can make it challenging to get all my fluids in. As the mercury rises, so too does our sweat loss, and for some it can be quite a lot! This means we need to be replacing our losses with additional fluids (such as water) after training. As I’ve increased my training loads over the years, I have found it helpful in aiming to replenish my sweat losses within the first 2-4 hours after training. This enables faster recovery, increases concentration levels throughout the day, plus helps improve sleep at night. Aiming to drink 1-1.5L of water during this time usually meets your requirements. But, as much as water is great, you can get sick of it; and as it gets hotter it can be a challenge to keep increasing your intake. So, luckily there are lots of different hydrating fluids and foods that you can include to help maximise your hydration and limit dehydration. Incorporating these into your recovery snacks and meals can also help meet your carbohydrate and protein requirements. Win-win!
Sodium-containing (salt) foods can help improve hydration, especially when electrolyte losses need to be replenished. That doesn’t mean you need to go cracking salt over everything, but rather include foods that contain sodium, such as: breads, cow’s milk, yoghurt, electrolyte or sports drinks, cheese and occasional lightly salted potato or corn chips.
My favourite ways to include hydrating fluids and foods include:
- Water (that’s obviously my #1) – I find adding lemon or lime slices prevents it from being boring.
- Electrolyte drinks with post training breakfast – then of course I have my coffee after!
- Homemade electrolyte ice blocks – are a great way to rehydrate when you don’t feel like large amounts of liquid.
- Milk-based drinks such as milky coffee or choccy milk.
- Milk based smoothies – are a great way to get carbs, protein and electrolytes in.
- Fruits with cereal or yoghurt, or just on its own – watermelon and strawberries are great natural hydraters!
- Natural or plain Greek yoghurt with fruit and muesli – it’s made up of over 75% water, plus provides protein, carbohydrates, sodium and calcium!
- Salad veggies with lunches or dinner – cucumber and leafy greens are a must.
- Sparkling water to prevent flavour fatigue at times, or when eating out instead of alcohol.
- A cup of tea in between meals when I don’t feel like plain water, or want something more comforting (and have already hit my coffee quota for the day!).
My go to Smoothie Recipe:
- 1 small – med banana (frozen works best, but if fresh, add some ice cubes)
- ⅓ cup berries
- 2 Tbs rolled oats
- 1 tsp chia seeds
- ¾ – 1 cup milk (depends on consistency preferences)
- Sprinkle cinnamon (optional)
If you find your struggling with staying hydrated, particularly in races or long training sessions, speaking to an Accredited Practising Dietitian will help! We often do sweat testing to determine how much fluid you need per hour of exercise, and from there create individualised hydration plans to meet your needs.
AG AUS Triathlete & Accredited Practising Dietitian at SportsDietitian.com
Photo credit: Kate Penberthy Photography & Triathlon Australia