Amy Dirks on One Way To Enhance Performance is to Properly Hydrate
Nutrition information for soccer players from Amy Dirks. Discover what makes this column so different: Read Meet SoccerToday’s Nutritionist Amy Dirks – Great Info for Soccer Players of All Ages
Soccer players of all ages are always looking for nutrition and hydration advice plus valuable tips on what to eat and drink for peak performance. Here is Amy Dirks’ latest column on how to enhance your performance by properly hydrating.
Have a nutrition question? Ask Amy! Just email us your question, and we will see if we can answer it in an upcoming article on great nutrition ideas for soccer players!
HYDRATION FOR SOCCER PLAYERS:
When Should Soccer Players Hydrate? For many youth soccer coaches, soccer parents and players — this, along with what to eat and when to eat — are the most frequently asked questions.
One of the simplest and cheapest ways an athlete can enhance performance is to properly hydrate.
… and, water should always be the first choice.
Dehydration can lead to headaches, lack of energy, weakened immune system, weight gain, brain fog, and more. Knowing this, taking in enough fluids should be a top priority leading up to performance but also as a recovery tactic.
There’s a saying “water in your gut keeps you off your butt”.
In working with athletes, you hear excuses as to why they did not hydrate properly. One of them being “I don’t like the taste of water”. First of all, water doesn’t have any taste and second of all, make yourself like the taste.
Anyone can choke down a couple of glasses of water every so often in the name of feeling better and playing better.
Make your water more appealing so that you look forward to drinking it. Add fruit and herbs to your water. One of my favorite combinations is lemon and cucumber, and occasionally, I’ll throw mint leaves in there as well.
Sparkling water can be fun, but be leary of those that have tons of added sugar to them. Topo Chico or La Croix are both excellent choices of sparkling waters but don’t just drink sparkling water as your main choice. Nothing replaces clean filtered water.
The general rule of thumb, whether an athlete or not, is half of your body weight in ounces of water.
For example, if you weigh 140 pounds, you would need to drink at least 70 ounces of water.
This amount can increase if you sweat heavily or are out in the heat. During these instances, it is important to weigh yourself pre-training and post-training and for every pound lost, replenish with ~16 ounces of water. Losing 1-2% of your body weight can lead to impaired cognitive performance. Some athletes go even further and have a sweat test completed so that they have a customized plan for hydrating. This can be advantageous but not necessary.
Drinking two glasses of water upon waking (we tend to dehydrate while we sleep), and then drinking 1-2 glasses every 2 hours should be enough to keep you hydrated.
An easy test is to check your urine color. If it looks like lemonade, you are hydrated, but if it’s the color of apple juice, you are dehydrated and need to drink immediately. Another easy tip is to drink before you get thirsty. If your thirst mechanism has kicked in, you could already be on your way to dehydration.
Young athletes tend to sleep in when they can, especially during the summer or weekends, so not having enough time to hydrate before an event is another excuse.
If you drink the two glasses upon waking, carry around a stainless steel water bottle at all times and constantly sip, and properly rehydrate after events, you should be okay.
I have a 40-ounce water bottle that makes it super easy for me to see if I’m taking in enough water. Find a resolution that works for you to get over this barrier.
Remember, other fluids can contribute to your hydration status as well, such as smoothies, coconut water, and herbal teas.
If you have to, set a timer on your smartphone to remind you to drink or use an app that keeps you on track!
I recommend drinking coconut water
Or making your own electrolyte drink using orange juice, lemon juice, local honey, water, and sea salt. Another fun mixture is coconut water, lime juice, and pineapple juice. These are all more natural and serve the same purpose.
Many people eat too many processed foods, over-salt their food, and drink electrolyte type drinks even when they don’t need them, leading to an imbalance of electrolytes in the blood.
It’s good to salt your food with sea salt or Himalayan salt, but you should be mindful of what else you are taking into your body. Eating fruits and vegetables can also help with hydration and replenish electrolytes so choose from the following options whenever possible:
|Citrus Fruits||Bell Peppers|
Remember, a failure to plan is a plan to fail!Amy Dirks
Our bodies are made up of 60% water and our blood 90% water. It makes sense to nourish your body with water since it is the driving force of bodily processes. Water lubricates joints, delivers oxygen, forms mucus/saliva, cushions the brain and spinal cord, regulates body temperature, aids digestion, flushes body waste, makes minerals and nutrients accessible, boosts performance, and the list continues.
If you have read this far in the article, you can see that all of the benefits of drinking water will only improve performance so what are you waiting for? Start hydrating now!
***Side note…Soups are also an easy way to get in fluids, electrolytes, healthy protein, and more veggies! Make healthy soups a part of your food rotation for pre or post meals.