One of the biggest challenges to playing soccer over the summer is properly hydrating your athlete. An overheated body will shut down and energy and performance will suffer if the body is dehydrated. In addition to decreasing body temperature, water is essential for muscle contraction and increasing blood volume; all leading to an increase in performance. Because adequate hydration literally is the difference between winning and losing games, it’s important to know just how much fluid to drink before, during, and after tournaments, games, and practices. Check out the information below to ensure dehydration doesn’t affect your athlete’s performance.
What you eat and drink on a consistent basis matters - A good rule of thumb is to drink half your body weight in ounces of water on a daily basis. Simply take your weight and divide it by two to calculate how many ounces of water you need every day. Ideally you should be using the bathroom every 2-3 hours.
Before a practice or game - Aim to drink 24-36 ounces before an event. This allows adequate time for fluid to be lost through urine. 30 minutes before playing, consume an additional 8-16 ounces (there is no benefit to drinking more, as it would likely lead to having to use the restroom in the beginning of the game).
During the event - The goal is to drink 5-10 ounces of fluid every 15 minutes.
Note 1 ounce = 1 gulp.
After a practice or game - Your top priority after an event is to replace fluid loss! Drink water until urine is clear and plentiful. Another way to measure hydration needs is to measure sweat loss. Simply weigh the athlete before and after the event to see how much fluid was lost through sweating. Replace loss with a 1:1 ratio (ex. If an athlete loses 1½ pounds, replace with 24 oz).
A few more notes:
Make sure to have water bottles filled and accessible at all times to encourage drinking.
Start drinking water as soon as you wake up. Avoid drinking large amounts of water before bedtime as this will interrupt sleep.
Practice drinking fluids during practice to train the body to tolerate more fluids during games
Sports drinks like Gatorade, Powerade, and Allsport are designed for athletes exercising for greater than three hours and/or those exercising in intense heat. The recreational exerciser does best with water only and can replace electrolytes lost through a healthy diet
If you do consume sports drinks, choose those with a mixture of carbs (sucrose, glucose, and fructose) for better tolerance. Choose beverages that contain 14-19 grams of carbohydrates per 8 ounces (higher levels may slow down absorption)
Stay away from carbonated waters and drinks during activity to avoid an upset stomach
Ask for help! Meeting with a Registered Dietitian is a great way to learn new ideas and gather sports minded recipes for athletes of all ages. For more information, check out https://bodymetrixhealth.com