Don’t trust your thirst if you want to Achieve Peak Performance

Padraig King says you may be sub clinically dehydrated and miss out on Achieving Peak Performance. Padraig King advises you

“Do not use thirst as a way of knowing whether you need to drink. Thirst is not always a good sign that your body needs water. You may be sub clinically dehydrated and miss out on producing your best performance ever for the sake of a few sips of water.

In the western world our thirst reflex has been become an ineffective means of recognising dehydration. We often eat when we are just thirsty and through mixed signals we have made our thirst an unreliable monitor of our hydration.

“Every day you need to replace water in every cell in your body. Every cell uses water. Water is broken down in the cells as we think, move and speak. The more stress we are experiencing the more water we need. Whether you are studying, exercising, training or under pressure in relationships, business or for exams your hydration levels are critical for achieving your peak performance.”

Drinking water improves exam grades, research suggests

Drinking plain old water may help improve mental performance, at least on certain brain tests, a small study suggests. In the study, participants who drank about three cups of water (24 ounces, or 775 milliliters) before taking a battery of cognitive tests performed better on a test that measured reaction times compared with those who did not drink water. – http://www.livescience.com/38212-drinking-water-mental-performance.html

Heavy Duty Exercise requires Special Arrangements

Daily water (4-10 Litres) and sodium (3500-7000 mg) losses in active athletes during hot weather exposure can induce water and electrolyte deficits.

Both water and sodium need to be replaced to re-establish “normal” total body water (euhydration). This replacement can be by normal eating and drinking practices if there is no urgency for recovery. But if rapid recovery (<24 h) is desired or severe hypohydration (>5% body mass) is encountered, aggressive drinking of fluids and consuming electrolytes should be encouraged to facilitate recovery for subsequent competition. -http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22150427

The  United States Food and Nutrition Board recommends that women consume 2.6 litres of water daily, and that men consume 3.5 litres of daily, with approximately 80% of your daily intake coming from beverages, and 20% through food.

Those exercising regularly need even more, especially if they are working out in warm or  hot weather.  Women may not require as much water as men due to their smaller body size, slower perspiration rates and a differing rate of electrolyte loss, as well as their lower metabolic rates during exercise.

How will I know if I am properly hydrated?

Padraig King’s clients frequently ask him questions like-

“How will I know if I am properly hydrated?

Padraig always answers by showing them

How to do the simple hydration test that he uses in his work.

Padraig says

My step by step instructions to become fully hydrated are :

  1. Stand with feet shoulder width apart.
  2. Knees relaxed, and pull very lightly on a tuft of hair, eyebrow or piece of skin on back of the hand.
  3. If your body sways forwards as you slowly breathe out then you are hydrated.
  4. If it begins to sway backwards then you are probably sub-clinically dehydrated.

If you are dehydrated, even just sub clinically dehydrated,  but not thirsty then you may need to retrain your brain and body to recognise your need for water.

here is my way to train your brain and body to recognise water and become fully hydrated.

Stand and take a sip of water.

Hold it in your mouth until you begin to find your salivary glands produce saliva and this begins to fill your mouth.

Simultaneously, your body may sway forwards slightly. Now this flow of saliva may have taken up to 40 seconds to kick in.

Next sip will take less time to be recognised by your body and cause the saliva flow and cause you to sway forwards.

Next time it takes about 8 seconds. Then 3 seconds. Soon you will produce saliva instantly as you sip water.

Swallow,  sip and hold again until saliva flows.

Repeat often for best results.

Sub clinical means slightly. Not medically significant, but that’s not good enough if you are in the business of producing your peak performance, studying for exams, making critical decisions or want to produce results that exceed your previous personal best.

Functions of water in your body

Functions of water in your body- Mayo Clinic

When water is stimulating the flow of saliva instantly in you mouth it indicates that your nervous system and brain are aware of the presence of eater in your mouth. Frequent sipping and holding until saliva flows helps your brain and body to believe that you are in a place where an adequate supply of fresh clean water is available.  In prehistoric times we developed a water rationing system for times of drought that only uses water in essential areas of the brain and body needed for survival. – Padraig King

 What are Electrolytes?

Electrolytes are minerals in your blood and other body fluids that carry an electric charge. It is important for the balance of electrolytes in your body to be maintained, because they affect the amount of water in your body, blood pH, muscle action, and other important processes. You lose electrolytes when you sweat, and these must be replenished by drinking lots of fluids.

Electrolytes exist in the blood as acids, bases, and salts (such as sodium, calcium, potassium, chlorine, magnesium, and bicarbonate) and can be measured by laboratory studies of the blood serum. Various hormones in the body help regulate intake of these electrolytes, and the kidneys filter electrolytes which reach excessive levels. Unhealthy levels of consumption of any or all of the body’s necessary electrolytes can cause serious health issues.

Sip and Drink Water for exercise that last less than an hour

Sip and Drink Water for exercise that last less than an hour

Sodium and Potassium

The most common imbalances are excessive and insufficient levels of sodium, and excessive and insufficient levels of potassium. Many sports drinks contain added potassium and sodium to help in restoring the body’s proper electrolyte balance after physical exercise.

Electrolytes and Endurance Sports

Levels of electrolytes in your body can become too low or too high after exercise. That can happen when the amount of water in your body changes through sweating. Some medicines, vomiting, diarrhoea, sweating or kidney problems could affect the amount of water in your body.  Often it is imbalances in  levels of sodium, potassium or calcium that cause problems.

Symptoms of electrolyte imbalance

Electrolyte imbalances may create a number of symptoms. The symptoms depend on which of the electrolyte levels are affected.

If your blood test results indicate an altered potassium, magnesium, sodium, or calcium levels, you may experience muscle spasm, weakness, twitching, or convulsions.

Blood test results showing low levels may lead to irregular heartbeat, confusion, blood pressure changes, nervous system or bone disorders.

Blood test results showing high levels may lead to weakness or twitching of the muscles, numbness, fatigue, irregular heartbeat and blood pressure changes.

Consuming a sports drink after prolonged exercise helps replenish the electrolytes and fluid you lost and reduces the chance of imbalance.

Sources of Electrolytes from Foods.

Electrolyte content of some foods (note 100 g is about 3.5 oz)
sources of na cl k

Na =Sodium
Cl = Chlorine
K = Potassium

Source:  http://www.1vigor.com/article/electrolytes-hydration-athletic-performance/

How much liquid should I drink?

Do not use thirst as a way of knowing whether you need to drink. Thirst is not always a good sign that your body needs more liquids. -http://www.getactivetampa.com/nutrition.html

The following are suggestions for how much liquid you may need to drink to prevent dehydration:

  • Before exercise: Drink about 13-20 ounces of liquid, two to three hours before exercise.
  • During exercise: Drink six to 12 ounces of liquid every 15 to 20 minutes.
  • After exercise: Drink 16-24 ounces of liquid for every pound lost during exercise. 80% of water lost during exercise must be replaced before another exercise event done in the same day. It is a good idea to weigh yourself before and after exercise, especially during hot weather. This will tell you how much water you lost in sweat during exercise. You will need to replace this water after exercise.

What kinds of fluids should I drink?

The question has always been: should I drink water or a sports drink such as Gatorade or Powerade during and after I exercised? The general guideline suggests that if you exercise for less than an hour, water is probably sufficient and you do not need the additional calories contained in a sports drink. However, if you exercise for longer than an hour or in extremely hot condition for any duration of time, consuming a sports drink will help replenish the electrolytes you lost during exercise. Fluids should also be cool or cold. Cool or cold fluids empty faster from your stomach than warm drinks do. They also help to cool your body temperature. Do not drink juice or soda before exercise, because it may cause stomach discomfort. After exercise that lasts longer than three to four hours, you should replace sodium lost in your sweat. You can do this by adding salt to your diet and drinking liquids with sodium.

Water is Essential for Peak Performance

Water is essential for Peak Performance

Water is essential for Peak Performance

 

If you are dehydrated then your body and brain may think you are experiencing a drought and not send water into the areas essential for peak performance, excellence or focused concentration. You may need to convince your brain and body that an adequate supply of fresh clean water is available and that you are willing and able to use it.

With my simple sip, hold and swallow when saliva flows rule you will soon be hydrated and your brain and body will believe that an adequate amount of clean water is available to meet more than just your survival needs. You will quickly move from sub clinical dehydration to full hydration by sipping water and holding it in your mouth until saliva flows. Then swallow and repeat the process often for best results.

Now extra water will be made available from the body’s reserves to work in the frontal lobes of your brain. \the frontal lobes give you conscious control of your thoughts, emotions, fears. The frontal lobes also give you fine motor control and the extra motivation, focus and concentration required to achieve your peak performances in business, education, creative pursuits, communications and sports.

Water then can facilitate you to think creatively and productively in a manner that will bring about your peak performances. Keep sipping water throughout the day so that your brain, nerves and important muscles are receiving the hydration you need. Keep checking(hair tug test and speed of arrival of saliva) for a number of days and soon you will notice for yourself with accuracy when you are becoming sub clinically dehydrated .

To avoid sub clinical dehydration during your workout or performance, be sure to consume an adequate amount of fluids 24 hours before you exercise. You should also prehydrate with 17 to 20 ounces of water at least two hours before exercising, and drink 7 to 10 ounces of fluids every 10 to 20 minutes during your workout. And as stated, after completing a workout, consume 16 to 24 ounces of water for every pound of weight lost to help your body recover and rehydrate for your next workout.-http://www.twinlab.com/content/hydration-key-peak-performance

If you find that you are becoming sub clinically dehydrated  then simply take a sip of clean water, hold it in your mouth and see how quickly you sway forwards and your mouth begins to full with saliva.

Send your success stories of detecting and beating sub clinical dehydration and comments to padraig@Padraigking.com

 References:

1. http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/multimedia/functions-of-water-in-the-body/img-20005799

2. Dietary Reference Intakes for Water, Potassium, Sodium, Chloride, and Sulfate (2004) National Academy of Sciences. Institute of Medicine. Food and Nutrition Board. http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/DRI//DRI_Water/73-185.pdf
3. Casa DJ, et al. National Athletic Trainers’ Association Position Statement: Fluid Replacement for Athletes. J Athl Train 2000;35(2):212-24. http://goo.gl/GcWAOm
4. http://www.twinlab.com/content/hydration-key-peak-performance

5. http://www.getactivetampa.com/nutrition.html

6. Hydration and Electrolytes – Impact on Athletic Performance. by Paul B. Bennett, Jr. Ph.D. http://www.1vigor.com/article/electrolytes-hydration-athletic-performance/

7. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22150427

8. http://www.livescience.com/38212-drinking-water-mental-performance.html