Chapter 11: Prescription – Hydration

Chapter 11: Prescription – Hydration


As seen in Chapter 6 of this text, hydration is extremely important to well-being and/or athletic performance. Unfortunately our world seems to live in a state of chronic dehydration creating a lack of mental clarity and diminishing recovery, making our pursuit of body composition changes more difficult.

From a prescription standpoint, educating your client on the importance of water intake and the potential dangers of dehydration is critical.

Below are a few key points that you can use when discussing water intake with your client:

  • By being dehydrated by as little as 1-2% you are risking performance loss of up to 10%!
  • Training environment must be considered. When training in higher temperatures water consumption must be increased. This comes as a result of increased fluid loss via sweat. The recommendation of fluid increase will be an extra 15-25 oz per hour.
  • Not only is water essential to performance, it is also essential to recovery. Your client is working hard to take in all the right nutrients, make sure the body is able to transport, digest, and utilize them!
  • Dehydration is not only harmful physically but also mentally. It will not only yield a decrease in performance output but also potentially to mood swings, lethargy and a lack of mental clarity.

Should you time your water intake?

Large amounts of fluid intake with meals can cause inefficient digestion due to diluted gastric acids and enzymes. This is especially true in clients with IBS, Crohn’s, Colitis, hypochloridia, and GERD.

While there is no direct recommendation around water intake timing, if your client is experiencing any amount of GI distress a good place to start may be with removing water intake during a meal. Instead the recommendation would be to wait until 30 minutes after a meal to begin consuming fluids.

Providing a Hydration protocol

Most clients will come with very little awareness of their current water consumption. That is completely ok as it provides you, the coach, a foundation to begin the education discussed above.

Once you provide that education a proper hydration prescription can start at:

Current bodyweight in lbs/2 + 15 = target number of ounces

Naturally this does not account for physical activity and/or training environment, so be prepared to adjust this number relative to the specific needs of your client.

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