I recently had the pleasure of presenting our strength and conditioning program to a number of high school aged basketball players this past weekend. All teams played in a tournament whereby they played multiple games in a single day. With a break in between games, some teams came through to the varsity weight room to learn about the importance of sleep, sound nutrition principles and speed development, among others.
We were asked by a number of team coaches to talk about the importance of adequate hydration. We began our talk by explaining the role of water in the body, why it is important and what you can do to drink more water each day.
During the presentation, I asked each player how much water they consumed since they woke that morning. To provide some content: It was approximately 1:00 pm in the afternoon and the team had already played one early A.M game in the tournament.
I was amazed to learn that not a single player out of a group of 13 athletes had consumed an adequate amount of water
One of the athletes in the group had a half filled regular sized water bottle (like the photo above) clasped tightly in his hands at the time of the presentation. When I asked the group who believes that they have consumed enough water today? he proudly exclaimed that he had 1.5 bottles of water so far that day. It was at this time that I realized that not a single player out of a group of 13 athletes had consumed the recommended amount of water. The majority of the players on this high school basketball team were not even close!
With a visual presentation of the 16 oz. water bottle versus the daily recommended requirements of water, I feel like a light bulb went off in some peoples’ heads.
Estimating Daily Water Requirements
While the majority of individuals across the board are not consuming enough water, I think some confusion exists regarding how much or how little water an individual should consume each day.
Below are are a number of recommendations from various organizations and people regarding daily water intake that I’ve heard over the years
- 8 glasses per day
- 1 ml per 1 calorie of daily intake
- .5 oz. water per pound (lb) of body weight
- .66 oz. water per pound of body weight
- 1 oz. water per pound of body weight
Enter the Water Challenge
The majority of athletes that I have worked with are predominately visual learners. With that in mind, having a visual representation of daily water recommendations works well! Below are two 1 gallon water jugs that depict a typical 12 hour day.
By keeping up with the various lines an individual will be on target to consume 1 gallon (3.79 litres) of water per day. The visual depiction acts as a constant reminder to drink more water – and from what I have heard and seen – IT WORKS!
While consuming up to a gallon of water may seem excessive, this sort of fluid intake becomes critical for athletes during high intensity training periods such as in preseason or tournament play. In addition, daily water intake should be higher in hot, humid environments compared to cooler areas.
Pre & Post Weigh-Ins
In warmer climates it is common practice for athletic trainers to weigh athletes approximately 30 minutes prior to a training session and then immediately after training. They will take an athlete’s pre-training weight and compare it to their post-training weight. The difference between the numbers is the amount of water lost due to sweating. For example:
Pre-training Weigh in: 175 lbs
Post-training Weigh in: 168 lbs
175 lbs – 168 lbs = 7 lbs
7 / 175 = 0.04
0.04 = 4% Weight Loss
At UNC-Pembroke as a soccer player during pre-season, we were banned from our next training session if we were not within 2% of our previous pre-training body weight.
Again, if we were to use the example above the athlete would need to weigh in at least 171.5 lbs for the next pre-training session.
To return to their previous norm of 175 lbs an athlete would have to consume approximately seven 16 oz. bottles of water prior to their next session.
The capacity to perform high-intensity exercise, which results in exhaustion within a few minutes, is reduced by as much as 45% by prior dehydration corresponding to a loss of only 2.5% of body weight
So the answer to the question “What is the 16 cent supplement that can help take your training to the next level?” is WATER. A typical 24 pack of 16 oz. water bottles retails at $3.99. That’s just 16.6 cent per bottle!
While you may not realize it as it is probably a norm for you – your capacity to perform high intensity exercise has been limited all these years due to dehydration. As your hydration status is something you have full control over, it’s time to maximize your potential through adequate daily water intake.
Are you drinking enough? Take the water challenge today!