The beginning of this post might sound somewhat conceited but just bear with me because we’re going somewhere good. I am in really good health. I don’t mean I’m super skinny (I am not), or that I am in SUCH amazing shape or anything like that. I mean that I hardly ever (and by that I mean almost never) get sick. I got sick immediately following my marathon but prior to that the last time I was really sick was February 2010 (my senior year of college). As I’ve made clear on this blog, I try to live a lifestyle that is rich in mostly healthy eating and exercise, but I attribute my good health mainly to two different factors: getting ample sleep and staying hydrated. I know I mentioned yesterday that I am a “champion sleeper” and it’s really true. Getting 8 hours of sleep a night will literally change your life. However, today I’m in the mood to talk about hydration.
How much water do you drink every day? I aim for a minimum of 64 oz of water per day (that would be the old standard 8 8oz glasses). I use a Nalgene bottle most days (which is 32 oz) and aim to drink at least two (32 oz before lunch and then another 32 oz before dinner). Some days I drink another 16 – 32 oz on top of that. Depends on how hard I workout, how much I sweat etc. I definitely drink more on days I do hot yoga, because I lose a lot of water. On a typical workday, you can find this on my desk at all times (bottle of water and a cup of iced black coffee).
But sometimes I just want more than plain water! I LOVE carbonated water as a treat. I’m dying to have a Soda Stream, but haven’t worked up to actually purchasing one for myself. I usually grab a couple liter bottles of Vintage Seltzer at the grocery store, or a case of La Croix cans at Costco. The only thing I watch out for with carbonated water is added aspartame (the Harris Teeter generic brand of carbonated water has it! Disappointing).
Before I started running, I NEVER drank sports drinks. I just never felt like I needed them, and all my weird eating / food issues really flared up when I thought about drinking calories during or after a workout. However, once I started running, my need to fuel my body right for peak performance started to trump that. I still don’t drink a ton of sports drinks, but there are a couple I’ve come around to. Hydration is all about what works for you, and I find that when I sweat a lot I lose a LOT of salt (literally like white crystal film covers my entire face after a race… yuck). I therefore tend to prefer sports drinks for the electrolytes rather than a lot of sugar. A little sugar prevents me from getting an exercise induced migraine, but I tend to use running supplements (like GU gels, Jelly Belly Sport Beans, or Clif Shot Bloks) instead of sports drinks for that purpose during exercise (usually only long runs / races).
I like coconut water a lot and I love how it’s not artificial / loaded with sugar. My favorite brand is Vita Coco. They have really good flavors but the plain is just as good. Their coconut water is not from concentrate too (unlike Zico).
I also sometimes drink Gatorade G2. I like having this lower sugar option both for nutrition and taste. If my only option is regular Gatorade, I usually mix it with water (approximately 50/50 ratio). This is usually after a hard workout. During a workout, I’m all water.
I am also slowly but surely coming around to the idea of Chocolate Milk as a recovery drink. I totally scoffed at it at first. I mean I just worked out really hard… MILK? I gag. But then I tried it, and it was actually like having liquid heaven after a race. I haven’t made it a regular part of my routine yet… but I’m coming around.