It doesn’t need to be very serious to be seriously detrimental to performance.
Optimizing Hydration is not the most exciting subject to talk about
but its CRITICAL for performance and fat loss.
How much you sweat is all about the context of training and your environment such as
Acute dehydration of just 2% can negatively affect performance because your plasma volume shrinks which increases heart rate. Your body can’t sustain that cardiac output “stress” so it drops performance to compensate.
You also have to consider
Reduced plasma volume = less sweat rate which means inability to self-cool and regulate core temperature so the body slows down to compensate for this “stress” to protect itself.
In hot climates, if not managed correctly, heat stress decreases heart rate or cardiac output causing an accumulative decrease in performance.
* Decision making
* AND Insulin resistance (How your body manages blood sugars)
The negative effects of dehydration isn’t just confined to racing and training. It has massive ramifications to our everyday lives.
The problem is that hydration strategies aren’t standard.
They are very individual and that’s because we all have different sweat quantity and quality rates.
This means even in the same conditions we all sweat differently.
Some athletes lose very little electrolytes (mineral salts sodium, potassium, calcium chloride and magnesium are crucial) in their sweat and some lose a massive amount.
For those athletes you can see this as very obvious salty deposits on their race suits.
Thing is electrolytes are CRUCIAL for maintaining blood volume and for our muscles to fire in perfect sequence. When we lose these vital mineral salts it can cause a dramatic slowdown of performance and coordination.
So how do you measure your fluids loss in the real world?
One of the things we ask all our coached clients to do is weigh themselves before and after a 1 hour key session that would simulate race conditions.
It’s a very straightforward test but you’d be surprised at the ranges of weight loss athletes report. In some cases, a whopping 2Kg.
Clearly working out your electrolyte loss is hard to do unless you have access to specific equipment.
However, by knowing your hourly fluid losses means that you can take precautions to ensure that stay on top of this and by being more aware that you’re a heavy salt sweater means you can take sensible actions to replace your electrolytes.
A note of CAUTION on the train low dehydration trend:
There is a trendy (and in our minds potentially dangerous) thought in the long distance community that training dehydrated will give you give you future performance gains.
The thought that being dehydrated makes you lighter so that you climb faster and teaches your body how to more efficiently deal with being dehydrated.
OK we get it, we all want a performance advantage
but here’s the thing
Performance comes from a great periodized training program, consistent nutrition, optimal hydration and consistently doing the work.
Even if training dehydrated was proved to be (which by the way it isn’t) a marginal gain strategy we see training dehydrated as a more of a marginal loss that gives massive negative training, racing results and is not good for overall health.