One of the most common questions we get asked here at Pro4mance is how much fluid should I drink per hour? The simple answer is; there isn’t a specific amount of fluid you need to drink per hour.
Fluid intake is highly linked to exercise intensity and environmental conditions (temperature and humidity), meaning the hotter and more humid it is the more fluid you are going to drink, and the harder you are racing (to a point), the more fluid you are going to drink. But remember, there is still an upper limit to the amount of fluid your body can absorb. We have worked with athletes who can comfortably absorb from 600ml to 1400ml per hour, which will also vary individually depending on their exercise intensity and environmental conditions.
We always suggest practicing your hydration during training and testing to see what your body’s upper limit in fluid absorption is. Unfortunately this won’t be a comfortable experience as you will most likely make yourself feel sick and bloated but much better to feel like this in training than while racing. You can then use this quantity to better understand your body’s limitations and then hydrate to thirst below this limit.
We know that, once you lose 2% of your body’s weight in fluid you will have a reduced stroke volume and reduced capacity to regulate body heat which eventually will lead to a reduction in power production. However this does not take into consideration the change in power to weight ratio of you losing the 2% of body weight, which you may have noticed the majority of endurance athletes who win races are highly dehydrated at the end of a race. Although this is a fact, you need to consider the cardiovascular strain dehydration places on athletes and hence why it is always recommend limiting dehydration to below 2%.
So considering these facts, we suggest you need to drink to thirst or really understand your body’s fluid intake limits and drink to those limits while taking into consideration your environmental conditions and exercise intensity.
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