The Wonders of Water
We have been asked by several members about what they should be drinking, and how much, during exercise and throughout the day.
One thing to consider is an old saying from medicine - "Your kidney is far smarter than your doctor!!" Our kidneys filter our blood, and remove excess water in the form of urine. As such, if you are urinating 6-8 times per day, with mostly clear and colorless urine, it's highly likely you are well hydrated. From that, your "normal" fluid intake can be estimated looking at how much you drink, and the water content of your food (veggies and fruits having the most water...once, again, Mom was right!!).
Another method to consider is that we tend to keep things even in our bodies. Exercise, among other activities, will have us losing water volume in the form of sweat. We also lose water through our breathing, among other factors. Given that you exercise regularly, making sure you replace fluid losses from sweat is a key.
Sweat actually comes from our blood, specifically the plasma (fluid portion) of our blood. Since we have only so much blood in our bodies, replacing excessive losses is critical as well. Weighing yourself before and after exercise, in dry clothes both times, can help. Any weight change in that short time is from fluid losses. You can make up the difference by drinking enough to replace the loss. So, if you lost 2 lbs during exercise (very common!), you'd need to drink 32 - 48 oz to replace it! As that's a lot of fluid, it's best to use a few small drinks during exercise, than to "chug" the total amount after.
So, with that all in mind, what is the best drink to use? In most cases, water is fine during exercise, unless you are working for more than 60-90 min, or if you're suddenly feeling sluggish or weak during your exercise. In those cases, sports drinks (AdvoCare Rehydrate or INTRA) can help, as they provide a bit of extra energy to the session in the form of the sugars they contain. Don't be fooled by the electrolytes lauded in the ads for these drinks. While they help the drinks taste good, and thus encourage you to drink more, the electrolytes themselves can be supplied in many other ways, even by certain mineral waters.
As with so many things in life, there is no "magic bullet," but rather a consistent set of habits that can work best for you in your active lifestyle. The best sports drink on Earth, or the purest water, will do you little good if you don't use them! So, pick something you like, use it rationally, ask us for guidance if you need it, and you will find consistent improvement in how you feel and perform.