The world of sport is a minefield of questions, and everyone always has a different answer, making it hard to separate fact from fiction. Is there such a thing as drinking too much water and how important is carbo-loading?
So, how do we know what’s the truth and what’s simply a myth? We’re taking on some of the most common myths to get the low down.
Hydration ensures peak performance
Thirst and dehydration are the most obvious – and completely natural – consequences of training. While this is normal, we’ve been brought up to believe that the slightest dip in hydration levels will negatively impact our performance and increase the risk of developing a heat-related illness. The truth is that “natural” dehydration does not affect performance; we only begin to feel a decline in our performance when we experience moderate-to-severe dehydration. It’s simple, drink when your thirsty and replenish after your event.
Water is the ultimate hydration cure
While water can provide hydration, it lacks the nutrients needed to keep an athlete going. When exercising and exerting oneself, we sweat out all the fluids and nutrients in our body, all of which need to be replaced to fuel our activities. Water only replaces the fluids, which means that you need to find a way to supplement the nutrient loss. Finding drinks that can replenish your electrolytes both during and after the race is an essential part if sports nutrition.
Carbo-loading is a must before an event
Carbs are able to provide sufficient energy for long-distance races. So, when preparing for an endurance race, carbo-loading is encouraged. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to eat a year’s worth of pasta in one night, you can offset the balance with energy gels during the race. However, for shorter races, the body doesn’t need the extra energy.
Sugar needs to be avoiding
When you think of energy, what comes to mind? Sugar! When exercising, the body needs energy to function and sugar is the most obvious source. Pair this with sodium and it will keep you hydrated and energised for longer.
There’s no such thing as too much water
You need to stay hydrated, so it’s easy to assume that to do so, you need to consume a ton of water – there is no limit. Unfortunately, there is a limit, and your body can only tolerate so much. Consuming too much water will lead to an electrolyte imbalance known as hyponatremia or low blood sodium. This occurs when you don’t replenish the nutrients lost while exercising. You need to maintain a balance between your fluid and electrolyte level.
Take It With A Pinch Of Salt
When it comes to optimal sports nutrition, you’ll need to do your research – just like you’d do before playing games for money in Australia – before believing the things that people tell you. Unless it comes from a knowledgeable source or professional, take it with a pinch of salt.