“It only takes a loss of fluid equal to 2% of body weight to cause a decrease in power by 10%”


“It is common to lose between 2-7% of total body weight through sweat during endurance training”


Being active and participating in a sport such as triathlon is a great step to living healthy.  Understanding how important it is to be adequately hydrated for your peak performance is the next step. So whether you are a weekend warrior, or an Olympic athlete, the more you know about hydration the better.


When exercising, your body produces more heat than it can release, which increases your body temperature. To prevent overheating, your body sends more blood to the skin and activates the sweat glands to produce more sweat. A cooling effect is achieved as heat is dissipated by evaporation of sweat and improved heat radiation from the skin.


Unless fluid losses are replaced, sweating causes progressive depletion of blood volume, loss of electrolytes and a thickening of the blood, resulting in dehydration. Dehydration increases body temperature and an elevated heart rate as our body tries to maintain adequate blood flow to exercising muscles and vital organs. This results in increased perceived exertion – basically, exercise feels harder and you feel more fatigued than usual. Mental function is also reduced, which can impact performance by negatively impacting concentration, vigilance, coordination, judgement and reaction time.


Being dehydrated during exercise reduces both your physical and mental performance. In fact, studies show that it only takes a loss of fluid equal to 2% of body weight to cause a decrease in power by 10%. It is common to lose between 2-7% of total body weight through sweat during endurance training. Maintaining adequate hydration is fundamental to performance by enabling you to train longer and harder.  


Symptoms and affects include: •Thirst •Fatigue •Muscle Spasm & Cramp •Headaches• Nausea and vomiting• Dizziness and light headedness• Goose bumps• Obvious loss of skill and coordination/clumsiness or unsteadiness• Confusion and disorientation• Eventual collapse


Hot Tips to Avoid Dehydration and Cramps


To ensure you stay well hydrated this summer, remember:


  •         When it comes to dehydration prevention is better than a cure - apply the 5 P’s (Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance      Don’t wait until you feel thirsty to have a drink
  •       Be diligent and disciplined with your fluid intake – measure your daily consumption
  •       Drink small amounts of fluid regularly to help with fluid retention and avoid loss of fluid through excretion
  •        A good quality rehydration formula such as Endura Low Carb or Performance Fuel aids fluid retention
  •       Ensure your sports drink has the right balance of both intra-cellular (magnesium & potassium) and extra-cellular (sodium & calcium) electrolytes
  •       Don’t over hydrate – excessive fluid intake can result in dehydration or more specifically Hypernatremia.
  •      Alcohol, Coffee and Caffeinated energy drinks are diuretics which may affect hydration
  •      Train in the early or later part of the day during the hot summer months to avoid excessive fluid loss
  •      Drink as little as 1-2 x serves of a quality electrolyte such as Endura Low Carb Fuel or Endura Performance Fuel together with water as required throughout the day

     Thanks to Nick Lavelle from Endura (a local brand/company with products manufactured in Brisbane and a valued Red Dog Sponsor) for his contribution to this article.



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