It’s still not 100% clear what causes muscle cramps. Electrolyte/fluid imbalance is one potential culprit, especially if the cramps occur a few hours into activity or when you sweat a lot. One way to find out if your cramps are being caused by electrolyte depletion is to drink H2Pro Hydrate 1500 before activities that typically lead you to cramping up. This ensures you are starting out fully hydrated, with your body’s sodium levels optimised. If you tend to cramp during long bouts of activity, you can also try using H2Pro Hydrate 1500 during these activities.
This is not a simple question. Despite a lot of research, there is still no real... consensus on what ‘the answer’ is. This is partly due to the huge range of individual/circumstantial factors that drive athlete’s individual fluid intake requirements. As a result recommendations on what to do vary wildly from those who promote drinking to a rigid, predetermined plan, to others who prefer to rely entirely on instinct (the ‘drink to thirst’ concept). Using our experience working with large numbers of elite athletes, we’ve developed a framework of recommendations. This involves some basic pre-planning on how much you might need to drink, but should be balanced with a significant reliance on following your instincts and testing/adjusting the plan on the go. The recommendations are intended as a starting point from which you can experiment to find out exactly what works for you. Precision Hydration fluid volume recommendations: During low sweat loss activity... Drink about 0-500ml (0-16oz) per hour Low sweat loss situations are characterised by things like... • Low exercise intensity • Duration of less than 60-90min • Cool environmental conditions • and/or, if you just generally have a very low sweat rate The range starts at ‘0’ here because, for most well hydrated athletes, exercising for anything less than 45-60min does not typically require any fluid intake at all. There are times when you might drink during short sessions or events e.g. if you have knowingly started somewhat dehydrated, to alleviate a dry mouth, or when you have other activities to do in the day and need to stave off possible dehydration later, but these are the exception not the rule. During moderate sweat loss activity… Drink about 500-750ml (16-24oz) per hour Moderate sweat loss situations are characterised by things like... • Moderate to high exercise intensity • Duration of 60-90min upwards • Warm environmental conditions Drinking about this amount ensures that a reasonable percentage of moderate fluid losses are replaced. Also in our experience most athletes don’t suffer with any fluid related GI issues within this range of intake as the gut can normally process this volume of fluid when working hard. During high sweat loss activity… Drink about 750-1000ml (24-32oz) per hour High sweat loss situations are characterised by things like... • High/Very high exercise intensity • Duration of 2-3 hours upwards • Hot and/or humid environmental conditions • and/or, if you just generally have a very high sweat rate Requirements can go above 1000ml (32oz) per hour, but this is relatively uncommon because it is approaching the ceiling of what most people can absorb through the gut whilst exercising. They can also be lower than 750ml (24oz) per hour in athletes who are well hydrated to start with and can tolerate relatively large amounts of dehydration before performance starts to suffer (for example some elite athletes have been documented as losing almost 10% body weight without a significant drop off in endurance performance in the field). Fine tuning and exceptions • None of the above recommendations should be treated as strict rules. • Use the recommendations to broadly assess the activity you’re doing and experiment within the relevant guidelines to see how you feel and perform. • You’ll soon start to get internal feedback on what works for you, and from that begin to optimise your strategy. To help you read the feedback your body gives you, here’s some of the typical signs and signals of under and over consuming fluid... Signs that you may be not be drinking enough • Thirst • Dry mouth/lips • Headache • Dizziness or lightheadedness • Peeing very infrequently (and passing low volumes of dark urine) Signs that you may be drinking too much • Bloated stomach / feeling fluid ‘sloshing’ around • Needing to pee a lot (and passing large quantities of clear urine) • Feeling sick/nauseous and lethargic • ‘Pressure’ headache • Mental confusion / disorientation • Swollen digits and joints An important note on hyponatremia Hyponatremia is a potentially very serious medical condition that is brought on most commonly in sporting situations when athletes over consume fluids (particularly fluids low in sodium). Way more detailed information on this is available here if you really want to dig into it in detail.