long does it take to get hydrated before training? Just 45 minutes, says a recent study from the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. Challenging
the popular notion that complete hydration requires you to drink
yourself into a water-induced coma, this study shows that just 600ml of
water ingested 45 minutes prior to training is enough to take an athlete
from mildly dehydrated to fully hydrated.
study was conducted on ten recreationally active men and women, each
about 25 years old and weighing close to 160 pounds. They were all
instructed to arrive at the testing lab dehydrated. Hydration status was
determined by measuring urine specific gravity - they peed in a cup.
Then the subjects were fed a variety of water-based solutions: pure
water, Gatorade, and something in-between. Hydration was measured again
at 30, 45, and 60 minutes after drinking.
Participants went from mildly dehydrated to fully hydrated in 45 minutes by consuming 600mL of water. That’s
less than two bottled waters. Researchers also found no difference
between water and Gatorade for achieving hydration. What does this mean
First, this study is only applicable to getting hydrated before
exercise, and the participants were only mildly dehydrated. They had not
just finished a half-marathon in the Mojave Desert, which would have
required more than 45 minutes and 600mL of water for recovery. So as your workout approaches, drink a couple glasses or bottles of water in the hour prior. This will ensure you perform your best.
Finally, don’t worry about drinking some magic concoction of salt, ginseng root, and unicorn blood to get hydrated before your workout. Plain old water will work just fine.
But post-exercise is a different story. Research has shown that after
you lose significant water during intense exercise, a drink containing electrolytes will help you rehydrate more quickly than water alone.
Personally, I’m stoked that I don’t have to visit the urinal every
thirty minutes starting at 8:00AM just to get hydrated for my afternoon
workout. Of course, for that half-marathon in the Mojave I might get
started early, but it appears that a couple glasses of water and 45
minutes are plenty to prepare most of us for training.