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The Heat is On – Hydration Essentials

[Good morning Endurance Buzz tribe! Enjoy the first article from Meredith Terranova, a Texas ultra athlete with a passion (and profession) in nutrition/wellness. We are so excited to be able to share her insights and thoughts with you right here on Endurance Buzz! – David]


As the heatwave begins, no matter how much you enjoy being out in the heat, it is ESSENTIAL that hydration is a number one priority.

If you exercise in the morning, you are hit with 80 degrees and high humidity. If you exercise in the evening, it might be dry but temps will soon top 100+ degrees reminding you that you aren’t catching a break. With this, you are either spending your day needing to hydrate in order to recover from a workout or hydrate in anticipation of a workout. And, for those lucky enough to do two workouts a day, well, your hydration might end up being a part-time job right now!

Whether you are sitting at a desk all day or working outside, getting in enough fluid is so important to good health and recovery. Even if you are not exercising, you should be consuming AT LEAST 2-3 liters [that is 68-101 ounces] of water a day!

There are so many thoughts on the benefits to staying hydrated with decaffeinated fluids. Here are just a few that should help keep you motivated to drink up: for skin health, to remove toxins and body waste, help keep the body in pH balance, for weight loss, to improve sleep, to increase energy, to help prevent hypertension, to increase metabolism, and many many more!

Photo: Courtesy Cimexus @ http://flic.kr/p/9taKrb

Many of my clients are always searching for which beverages are best for their daily hydration. Water, of course, is best. People often don’t understand that beverages are less satiating than solid foods. When you consume calories from beverages, you don’t compensate by eating less food later on. Liquid calories don’t register with our appetite controls. This is a very important fact for both athletes and non-athletes. As you pass through the shelves of your grocery store, running store, or cycling store remember that all of the electrolyte replacement drinks available are just that, electrolyte replacement. They are mostly meant for before, during, and after exercise, or to balance out your water consumption if you drink too much plain water. The calories in them are used during your workout, but if you are drinking these drinks as your major source of hydration throughout the day, you can end up adding 150-300 calories to your day. The same can also be said for multiple cups of coffee; how many calories are you adding with your milk, sugar, or other flavoring? Pay attention to these facts; the calories do add up.

As you go through the summer, find drinks that work for you to stay well hydrated. Below are some options for day-to-day “water” intake:

  • Water with lemon, lime, cucumber, or orange slices
  • Sparkling water with a splash of pomegranate juice or other 100% juice (try POM brand flavors)
  • Water with a splash of your favorite energy drink
  • Water with Emergen-C
  • A glass (8oz) of milk (even though it is 100 calories, it counts toward your hydration and gives you a serving of dairy, calcium, and protein)
  • A glass of juice (6oz counts as a fruit serving)
  • Decaf. Unsweetened Tea – try one of the many herb flavors available

If you are focusing on recovering or prepping for a workout, consider the need to add in some electrolytes to at least one of your water drinks. These are especially important if you are drinking 60+oz of plain water a day:

  • Water with NUUN, Hammer Fizz, or other electrolyte tablet
  • Coconut Water
  • Low-sodium V8 Juice
  • Water with diluted electrolyte drink of choice

One important item to note when you are picking up different drinks, or flavor options, at the store many of them, if calorie-free or low calorie, contain chemical sweeteners like: sucralose, aceslfume-K, or aspartame, and neotame. These items have not been shown to harm hydration, but if you are avoiding these ingredients be sure to take a close look at the ingredient list!

Even with these ideas and tips, if you can’t seem to make yourself drink enough everyday, get a bottle that will keep the water a temperature you want to drink it at. My favorite is the Camelbak Insulated Bottle. You will be amazed that you will still have ice cold water after it sits in your hot car!

– Meredith Terranova

[Talk Hydration]

  • How do you stay up on hydration during your work-life hours?
  • I am a fan of water with a bit of lemon juice (when I want a little flavor or electrolytes). What are your favorite non-calorie fluids to keep that body hydrated when not exercising?

About the author

Meredith Terranova Meredith Terranova has been helping her clients reach their nutritional goals since 2004. As an ultra-distance runner herself, a healthy lifestyle has become even more important. By living what she teaches, she has experienced a huge impact on training, performance, and recovery. Healthy nutritional living is a passion. For more information on Meredith, check out the About page where you can see her health related projects.

2 Responses to “The Heat is On – Hydration Essentials”

  1. on 25 May 2012 at 6:16 am olga

    Last 2 weeks I had finally started drinking at work. A whole of almost 2 bottles. That’s huge for me! Thankfully, I never drink juices or soda’s, but it’s because I didn’t grow up with them and consider they taste nasty:)

  2. on 29 May 2012 at 8:37 am David Hanenburg

    Olga – An interesting sharing of your youth. Today, I am afraid, many youth (and adults) today aren’t familiar with water because it tastes nasty/boring.

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