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November 24, 2020 2 min read

Drinking water is a common necessity for working out, but it can be difficult to know how much water you need to ensure you’re getting enough. Staying hydrated prevents your muscles from cramping up and staves off fatigue so that you have the energy to get through your workout. To help you perform your best, here’s how to stay hydrated during a workout.

When To Drink Water

Before you even begin working out, a good rule of thumb is to drink at least two cups of water at least two hours beforehand so that your body gets the chance to use that water to keep itself well-hydrated. Your warm-up will then be the next important step, as your blood flow will begin to increase and fluids will be able to easily reach your muscles. Warming up on a home gym treadmill is recommended, as cardio is one of the most effective ways to increase blood flow and heart rate. Once you’ve finished warming up and move on to your workout routine, make sure you’re drinking four to six ounces of water every 20 minutes. Waiting to feel thirsty is not a perfect indication of hydration, so a consistent intake of water will eliminate the risk of your muscles becoming dehydrated.

Alternative Drinks

While water is the most ideal, there are some other liquids you could make use of. Sports drinks are packed with sugar with the intention of giving athletes a boost in carbohydrates that the body will turn into glycogen—the chemical your body uses to give you energy. Sports drinks also include minerals to replace lost electrolytes. Another option is diluting fruit juice with water to achieve the same effect as sports drinks. Water will always be your best option, but if you desperately need a change of pace, these are other options you can turn to.

Signs of Dehydration

To make sure you know you’re hydrated, it’s helpful to know what dehydration looks like. The most immediate sign of dehydration is cramps. These are sudden and painful involuntary muscle contractions that can result from your muscles lacking water. Another obvious indicator is your urine. The lighter and clearer your urine is, the more hydrated you are, and vice versa. Smaller symptoms include physical signs such as lightheadedness, nausea, and fatigue. All in all, the main takeaway should be that consistently drinking water is how you stay hydrated during a workout, which may seem obvious, but it’s common to accidentally neglect this practice.

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