Why athletes need to ignore the drink a gallon of water a day trend...
A couple weeks ago, I spoke with 300 athletes on the East Coast. I expected a few hands to raise when I asked the older teens if they'd heard of a particular nutrition trend. I didn't expect nearly all of them- and I definitely didn't expect that many young teenagers- to say yes. I was admittedly shocked at how many of them had heard - and believed- that they should drink a gallon of water per day.
Since kids' bodies are nearly 65% water (less for adult men and women), water is essential for
flushing out toxins
so MORE must be better, right?
Not so fast!
The general guideline for daily hydration is 1/2 your body weight (lbs) as ounces. For example:
100 lbs. = 50 oz.
150 lbs.= 75 oz.
Granted, water intake increases to accommodate for sweating, but that also is determined by individual needs.
A gallon of water contains 128 oz... more than double the baseline hydration needs for a 100 lb athlete, and 50 oz. more than an 150 lb. athlete's general needs.
Why does this matter?
Unless an athlete is approximately 175 lbs., drinking a gallon of water a day can severely throw off electrolyte balance which can cause
vomiting or diarrhea
lack of focus
Certainly not an ideal way for athletes to show up to games or practice.
Not to mention the chronic overhydration risk of kidney stones and/or kidney failure. As I saw again at this seminar, athletes are eager to learn. They want to improve their performance, endurance, energy, strength, and speed. But... without accurate information, they're going to believe influencers or information geared toward adult athletes, not sports nutrition specific to youth teen athletes' needs.
It's never too early- or too late- to provide athletes with the right information to strengthen their foundation and prepare them for their game.
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