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Importance Of Hydration For Optimal Performance

Madhura Mohan

Posted on June 25 2020

importance of hydration to maximize performance and recovery

Optimal performance for any fitness freak, whether bodybuilder, athlete, swimmer, jogger, cyclist doesn’t simply rely on using top-quality supplements or training at the best gym in town. It’s about an expertly designed nutrition plan, proper workout, rest, supplements, all of which work together to help the body perform optimally.

If you have noticed the above sentence carefully, there is some important thing missed out there. What’s the missing link to unlock your optimal performance?

Many people write to us to seek advice on reaching their fitness goals, they also come up with concerns like headache, dizziness after exercise, fatigue, reduced performance in the gym. When we ask them to report on their lifestyle, all they talk is about their eating habits, the kind of workout they do and their supplementation. Little is what we get to hear about their hydration factor– the most important element of nutrition for sports performance and the root cause for most of the listed concerns.

It’s very shocking to hear yet true that many people say they turn up to the gym without a water bottle!

Here, let’s explore in this article why/how proper hydration is important for optimal performance…


How Essential Is Hydration For Your Performance?

Water is an indispensable part of our daily diet. Although it is often overlooked as an essential nutrient, we don’t really give heed to the importance of drinking enough water. The colourless, tasteless, odourless, readily available, most importantly, the zero-calorie fluid is often ignored. Water impacts virtually every aspect of your performance, right from endurance, recovery, thermoregulation, energy production, muscle flexibility, mental clarity, helps preserve cardiovascular function, improves performance and reduces the risk of injuries.


Top 10 Hydration Benefits For Performance

1. Water helps to regulate our body temperature, which is called thermoregulation. When core body temperature rises above normal, undue stress is placed on the body, which can interfere with the body’s energy system. This will negatively affect both performance and recovery.

2. It helps regulate blood pressure. Effectively regulated blood pressure normalizes heart rate and therefore manages stress on the body during training and recovery.

3. Water helps in the movement and transport of essential nutrients. Essential macronutrients such as carbohydrate, protein, fat and micronutrients that are used for energy production are all transported by water in the body. 

4. Water helps to remove the metabolic waste that is produced during intense exercise.

5. Lubricates joints for improved movement. Without sufficient water, bones and joints feel stiff.

6. Being properly hydrated can delay the onset of exercise-induced muscle cramping and fatigue.

7. Proper hydration promotes efficient digestion and thereby efficient protein synthesis.

8. Creates a sense of fullness to prevent overeating.

9. Proper levels of hydration increase fat burning through increased metabolism.

10. Around 70-75% of your muscles are composed of water. Hydration helps avoid muscular fatigue and aids in efficient recovery post-workout.

There’s a very important topic we are going to be discussing next...the impact of dehydration on your performance…


Dehydration Makes It Hard To Get The Most Of Your Workout

When you are on inadequate fluid intake, or your body expels more liquid than it takes in, it leads to dehydration. Dehydration has a drastic impact on physical performance, meaning you won’t get the most of your session. Hydrating before, during, and after exercising helps replenish the lost electrolytes rapidly enough to offset the sweat-related losses and improves the quality of your workout. Rehydration helps decrease fatigue, enhances quick recovery, and boosts your performance.

For most people water is all that they need to stay hydrated. A sports drink may be helpful for athletes or those doing the workout for more than an hour.


Sweat & Hydration – What’s The Connection?

Here’s how the mechanism of sweat works…During exercise, your body works at a higher than normal metabolic rate. Your metabolic rate is nothing but your energy expenditure, and with exercise, your energy expenditure goes up. This process produces heat. Your body needs to deal with this heat so that your body temperature stays within a healthy range. The main way the body maintains optimal body temperature is through sweating. Heat is removed from the body when you sweat, but this also results in a loss of body fluid.

This is where the connection comes between sweat and hydration…

Drinking a little water pre-workout, during your workout, and post-workout keeps your fluid levels topped up. This reduces your chances of dehydration, thereby you can exercise for longer.




500ml – 600 ml

2 to 3 hours before exercising



20 to 30 minutes before exercise

200ml - 300ml

Every 10 to 30 minutes during exercise


Within 30 minutes after exercising


How To Know You Are Dehydrated?

The commonest symptoms of dehydration would be thirst, constipation, dry skin, dizziness, fatigue and dry mouth. Dropping energy levels are likely the first indicators of dehydration. Muscle cramps (caused by increased muscle sensitivity and involuntary muscle contractions), nausea, decreased sweat rate, reduced levels of focus are some of the other symptoms of dehydration.


Grab a drink of water before you go ahead to finish reading this article…


Does Dehydration Cause Skeletal Muscle Fatigue?

An increased core temperature during a dehydrated state possibly leads to an increased rate of glycogen breakdown in muscles. This, in turn, may contribute to an increased level of fatigue in the muscles used during the athletic activity. Glycogen breakdown during exercise leads to an intracellular increase of acids, principally lactic acid. The lactic acid produced by the breakdown of glycogen decreases the muscular pH which causes skeletal muscle fatigue.

Besides, increased cortisol levels reduce the amount of testosterone released as a response to resistance-specific weight training.



1. Don’t wait until you are thirsty. If you wait until you are thirsty, you have already begun to dehydrate

2. Drink water before, during and after exercise.

3. During the warm months, exercise at the coolest time of the day – early morning or late evening.

4. Wear the lightest clothing that you can like lightweight cotton t-shirts.

5. Avoid working out in the synthetic fabric.

6. Shaker bottle or sipper that have water level markings will encourage you to drink more water.

7. Bottles with wide neck allow you to add ice to your water or sports drink to keep it cooler throughout your walk or exercise session.

8. Travel is a factor that can affect hydration. Changing climates and time zones can have a negative effect on the body. Maintain your daily water intake even if you are working in shifts or have travel plans.

9. High water-content food can help contribute to your fluid intake. Fruits like watermelon, grapes, peaches, cucumber, tomatoes, yogurt, and vegetable soup help supplement the fluid intake.


Don’t push your body towards dehydration as this may lead to performance pitfall…


Maintaining the proper balance of fluids will help you reach your optimal performance goals…


Also read: Top 5 benefits of green coffee bean 

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