Water Breaks and Performance

Water Breaks and Performance

With some sort of ‘normality’ creeping back into sport over the next few weeks there is a lot of concern about rules and regulations around hydration and water breaks. As a player or competitor, your job is to perform at your optimum and not be worrying about ‘will I be able to get a drink?’ ‘will my bottle be safe?’ ‘How much water can I consume on a break without it affecting me?’ Like every part of performance ‘water breaks’ need to be practised training to ensure smooth transition into matches/events. My advice to teams I have met over the last few weeks is to allow players/athletes to use their own bottles before and after and use small disposable bottles during games/events to avoid any chances of cross contamination.

A recent survey states that on average 38% of GAA players are not correctly hydrated before a game! I think it is probably more! If you consider that a 3% hydration loss during exercises can cause 10% loss in strength, 8% loss in speed as well as impaired cognitive decision making, increasing chances of muscle cramp and early fatigue onset you realise how crucial hydration is.

To try and avoid any extra stress it is recommended that you are fully hydrated prior to a game/ competition/event. As with everything nutrition/hydration related there is no one size fits all and everyone requires different levels of hydration. The best way to know if you are hydrated or not is to check the colour of your pee. There is a pee chart on this site or plenty online. The ideal colour is a light straw colour. The darker the colour generally the poorer the hydration but you need to allow for certain foods (beetroot) vitamins (B’s) and supplements as they can change the colour.

The average person looses 2.5 ltrs of water just sitting on the couch! Teams sports lose 1.5-2.5 ltrs per hour depending on position, temperature and if they are lazy feckers!!!. So, we need to constantly replace this loss. In order to be optimally hydrated before games/competitions/events we need to be focusing on hydration 36 hours out. There are plenty of choices to hydrate including plain or flavoured water, high water fruits like melons, pineapple, cucumbers, berries and tomatoes, sports drinks (as 1g of carbs helps retain 2-3g of water), teas and milk.

Any questions at all just shout.

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