As we approach BRSC’s Competitive Team Camp and the new season, it is imperative for all players to hydrate before, during, and after training sessions. Hydration is crucial for soccer players, as dehydration can lead to a decline in performance, muscle cramps, fatigue, and even heat-related illnesses. We have compiled some helpful tips for hydrating effectively:
- Start hydrating well in advance. Drink plenty of fluids throughout the day leading up to your training session, aiming to consume around 2-3 liters (68-101 ounces) of water daily.
- Monitor your urine color. It should be pale yellow, which indicates proper hydration. Dark urine is a sign of dehydration.
- Consume a carbohydrate-focused meal 2-4 hours before training. This will help ensure you have adequate energy stores.
- Continue hydration with water or sports drink in the hour leading up to training.
- Drink fluids before, during, and after training to maintain hydration levels. Aim to drink 5-9 ounces of water every 15-30 minutes during training sessions.
- For intense, prolonged workouts lasting more than an hour, consider consuming a sports drink containing electrolytes to replace sodium, potassium, and other minerals lost through sweat.
- Replenish fluids within 30 minutes of completing your training session. Water, coconut water, or a sports drink can be good options.
- Consume a high carbohydrate snack within one hour of completing the training session to replenish glycogen stores. Some examples of this may be a recovery shake, yogurt, fruit, or cereal bar.
- Consume a well-balanced post-workout meal more than 2 hours following the completion of the training session that includes carbohydrates to replenish glycogen stores and protein to support muscle recovery.
- Monitor your body weight before and after training. For every kilogram lost during exercise, consume around 1.5 liters (50 ounces) of fluid to rehydrate. For every pound lost during exercise, consume around 24 ounces of fluid to rehydrate. There should not be more than a 1% difference in morning body weight day-to-day.
- Avoid excessive caffeine, as it can increase dehydration.
- Consider using a sports water bottle with measurements to track your fluid intake accurately.
- Incorporate hydrating foods into your diet, such as fruits, vegetables, and soups, which have high water content.
- Listen to your body and drink when you feel thirsty. Thirst is a reliable indicator of the body’s need for fluids.
Remember, proper hydration is an ongoing process. Following these guidelines will help you maintain optimal hydration levels and enhance your performance on the field. A registered dietitian or healthcare professional can provide recommendations customized to your concerns or medical conditions.
Consult our Sports Medicine Education Page for additional helpful tips and resources.