Listen, we demand a lot from our bodies.
Athletes or not, the hustle of an active life doesn’t come without a cost, and we need to make sure we are continuously paying it forward to our body with sleep, movement, a healthy mindset, nutritious food (food is fuel, after all) and proper hydration. Of course, with the arrival of Fall, many of us might find ourselves nursing more pumpkin flavoured lattes than water or electrolyte-based drinks… even if we have a spin class or workout penciled in later that day.
No matter how much you love your daily coffee fix, juice or pop, there are few things more important to your competitive performance and daily health than proper hydration and replenishment before and after each workout.
First, let’s cut to some facts. The human brain is composed of 95% water, your blood is 82% water, and your lungs are nearly 90% water. This means that hydration directly affects your blood flow, kidney function, sodium/potassium/electrolyte balance, mental clarity and digestive functions. According to studies, so much as a 2% drop in body water can actually cause a small (but critical) shrinkage in the brain. As we know, the process of working out places a healthy stress on your central nervous system, but combined with the effects of dehydration (decreased endurance, strength and neuromuscular coordination, slowed muscular response, cramping, general fatigue etc.) — you’re simply not creating an ideal environment for your body to perform. If you want your body to work (and work hard), you need to put in the pre and post work to prepare and replenish your internal systems.
Working in the fitness industry for many years and now owning a Spin studio of our own, we’ve come to truly understand the effect hydration has on our physical performance (and general quality of life). With this experience in mind, we’ve put together a list of our best 4 hydration hacks:
We know we need it, but how much do we actually drink? Depending on your size and perspiration rate, you lose about four cups of water per hour of moderate exercise. While busting your a*s in a hot spin room, you are probably losing a gallon (or more) of water through perspiration.
Remember to drink water at regular intervals throughout the day and before, during and after your workout (regardless if whether or not you’re thirsty) — because by the time you feel that thirst, you are already dehydrated. On average, you should drink anywhere from one half to two gallons of cold water per day, depending on your activity levels. If you’re someone who doesn’t love the taste of plain old H20, mix in some lemon or lime, or other fresh fruit for a subtle flavour kick. Also don’t forget that certain supplements and medications can have an effect on your hydration, so always read the labels to be aware of these added factors.
2. Coconut Water
It’s trendy for a reason. Coconut water isn’t just a great thirst quencher, it’s also extremely nutrient-dense. Low in fat, isotonic to human blood (meaning it can be used to quickly rehydrate the human body, even intravenously) and high in fibre, coconut water also contains five essential electrolytes: calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium and sodium.
As your body loses mineral-rich fluids during your workout, coconut water will help to restore your equilibrium with 294 mg of potassium and 5 mg of natural sugar per glass. That’s a lot of bang for your buck, in the post-workout drink department.
Nuun Active electrolyte tablets come in a ton of flavours, ready to pop into a glass of water for a serious electrolyte boost whenever you need it. The tablets are gluten-free, vegan, low in sugar and carbs and made with clean ingredients — of all the electrolyte supplements we’ve tried over the years, this brand has quickly become a favourite.
Containing sodium (bicarbonate + carbonate), potassium (bicarbonate), magnesium (sulfate), calcium (carbonate) and vitamin c (as ascorbic acid), Nuun will help to alleviate cramps, improve muscles function and burn energy efficiently.
Another one of our favourite electrolyte supplements, Ultima Replenisher is vegan, gluten-free, non-GMO, Paleo/Keto friendly and made with all 6 balanced electrolytes plus support minerals. The electrolyte powder, which comes in single-serving packets or larger canisters, is sweetened naturally with stevia leaf and no sugar, carbs or calories.
Similar to Nuun Active, the electrolytes found in Ultima will help to protect your cells from oxidative stress, reduce fatigue, support muscle contraction and nerve function, as well as provide antioxidant support (and more).
* Please note that 6ix Cycle is not endorsed by the brands mentioned in this blog, these are products that we genuinely love and recommend to our 6ix Squad based on our personal and professional experience.
Listen, we demand a lot from our bodies.