Fluid and Electrolyte Recommendations
- At least 4 hours before exercise, individuals should drink @ 2-3 ml per pound of body weight (roughly ½ liter for a 150 pound person) of water or a sports beverage. This allows enough time to optimize hydration status and for excretion of any excess fluid as urine.
- No need to over hydrate.
- Drinking fluids containing electrolytes and carbohydrates can help sustain fluid and electrolyte balance and endurance exercise performance.
- Fluids containing 6%-8% carbohydrate are recommended for exercise events lasting longer than 1 hour.
- Rapid and complete recovery from fluid losses can be accomplished by drinking at least 16-24 oz of fluid for every pound of body weight lost during exercise.
- Consuming rehydration beverages and salty foods at meals/snacks will help replace fluid and electrolyte losses.
- Eating before exercise has been shown to improve performance.
- The pre-exercise meal should leave the individual neither hungry nor with undigested food in the stomach.
- Larger meals should be consumed at least 4 hours prior to the event and smaller meals near the event.
- Foods should be low in fat and fiber, high in carbohydrate , moderate in protein and familiar to the athlete.
- Athlete’s individual needs must be emphasized and the athlete should always ensure that they know what works best for themselves by experimenting during practice sessions.
- Research supports the benefits of carbohydrate consumption in amounts typically provided in sports drinks (6%-8%) to endurance performance in events lasting 1 hour or less.
- For longer events, consuming @ 30-60 grams of carbohydrates per hour has been shown to extend endurance performance.
- Consuming carbohydrates is especially important in situations when athletes have not carbohydrate-loaded.
- Carbohydrate intake should begin shortly after the onset of activity and at 20-minute intervals.
- The timing and composition of the post-competition or post-exercise meal or snack depend on the length and intensity of the exercise and when the next intense workout will occur.
- Consumption of a carbohydrate meal (>65%) within 30 minutes after exercise will help replace glycogen stores.
- Including protein in a post-exercise meal may provide needed amino acids for muscle protein repair.
- American College of Sports Medicine position stand: Exercise and fluid replacement. Med Sci Sports Exerc 39(2):377-390, 2007. Review
- American Dietetic Association, Dietitians of Canada, and the American College of Sports Medicine position stand: Nutrition and athletic performance. Med Sci Sports Exerc 41(3):709-731, 2009. Review