Hydration mission: What to drink before, during and after a workout

Published on 2 July 2014
by Geneviève Nadeau

Apart from hydrating you, water plays a major role in maintaining your energy level. We lose liquids every day through our urine, stools, breathing and sweat. A sedentary individual eliminates 2 to 2.5 L of water on a daily basis, and the consequences of a lack of liquid (dehydration) may be harmful. When performing an activity, a weight loss of as low as 2% in water diminishes your physical ability by 10%. More frequent dehydration symptoms are thirst, fatigue and headaches.



An excellent way to prevent dehydration consists in arriving at a workout session well hydrated. Consume 400 to 600 ml of liquids 2 to 3 hours before exerting yourself. Water is an excellent beverage of choice before working out.



Furthermore, unless you practice a sport intensely for over an hour, water will do the trick during a workout. You may take little sips throughout the session. After 60 minutes or when the workout conditions are very hot and humid, a rehydration beverage is a great choice. Whether you choose water or a rehydration beverage (water, juice, salt), we recommend sipping between 150 and 350 ml of liquid every 15 to 20 minutes right from the start.



In order to restore our state of hydration, we should not forget about the importance of drinking after a workout. The nature and amount of liquid that we need to drink depend, among other things, on the intensity of the activity that you are engaging in. However, if the workout session lasts less than an hour and it wasn’t intense at all, water is perfectly fine. Chocolate milk is also a great choice of beverage, especially if the muscles have been exerted. In fact, water, minerals, carbohydrates and proteins contained in chocolate milk help you to rehydrate, to replenish your energy reserves and to rebuild your damaged muscles. It is the ideal choice since it compensates for the losses incurred during an intense and extended activity.

Geneviève Nadeau
Dt.P. Nutritionnist