Best Way To Rehydrate Post Weigh-ins

A picture of Will Ferrell from the movie Anchorman as he drinks milk. He has a disheveled beard and looks upset.

Ever stop and think if what you drink after you weigh-in is helping you? Specifically, whether or not it’s helping you rehydrate most efficiently?

I never did. Instead I just reached for the closest beverage. I typically chugged until I felt like I was going to puke.

There was never a rhyme or reason to my decision. I just drank whatever I happened to feel like.

So I hope a few research studies I found will improve your beverage selection for after a weigh-in. Ultimately, I hope this info improves the way you feel before you step on the mat.

About The Study

Purpose

“…our goal was to examine the efficiency of rehydration in two commonly used drinks (e.g., carbohydrate-electrolyte beverage and standard bottled water) and a new commercially formulated purified water.”

The commercially formulated water is patented for the method used to oxygenate the water. It is an oxygenated micro-cluster water that has a number of benefits including proper hydration (whatever that means), increased energy, and other benefits. At least these are the claims made by the manufacturer.

As with other research study the names of the products, schools, etc. are not given. The carbohydrate-electrolyte beverage has a breakdown of Gatorade. I’m not familiar with the type of special water used, though. The study was published in 2009, so the water was probably released and becoming popular in 2008-2009.

Subjects

21 Division 1 wrestlers of similar height, weight, age, body fat, and experience participated.

Procedures

Blood and urine samples were taken and tested before dehydration, immediately after dehydration, and 1 hour after rehydration. The last sample was taken to simulate the time between a weigh-in and a match.

Dehydration of a 3% of body mass per wrestler was achieved through a standard 2-hour wrestling practice.

During the first 5-10 minutes after weighing in, the wrestlers consumed an amount of beverage equal to half of the weight lost during the practice. The second half of the beverage was consumed between 20-25 minutes.

The weight for each wrestler prior to starting each of the 3 practices was essentially the same (within a pound).

Findings

Plasma osmolality and urine osmolality were significantly lower after drinking the standard bottled water compared to the carbohydrate-electrolyte beverage. The same was true after drinking the commercially formulated water when compared to the carbohydrate-electrolyte beverage.

It was stated that complete rehydration in 1 hour was not achieved with any of the beverages. Keep this in mind when cutting weight. In this study, wrestlers’ lost 3% of their body mass.

Study 2

Findings

“The findings of this study demonstrate that rooibos tea was no more effective in promoting rehydration than plain water, with significant changes being found for plasma osmolarity and urine osmolarity in the carbohydrate/electrolyte solution, in collegiate wrestlers after a 3% reduction in body mass and a rehydration period of 1-hour when consuming 100% of their body weight loss.”

…This conclusion was in the abstract. I opted not to download the full paper because the $37 price tag was a bit too steep for me.

Study 3

This study compared the effects of 2% milk, Powerade, and water on the rehydration process after a loss of 2% total body weight from exercise. All beverages consumed were 150% of the total sweat lost (weight lost) during the workout period.

“The results suggest that milk is more effective at replacing sweat losses and maintaining euhydration than plain water or a commercially available sports drink following exercise induced dehydration by approximately 2% of initial body mass.”

How To Use

There are three implications from these studies.

First, depending on what your stomach can handle, go with milk or a Gatorade (or a similar type of sports drink) after you weigh-in. It was suggested that the added sodium in the milk and Gatorade-type beverages is what helped promote euhydration better than the no sodium beverages.

Second, assuming you have an hour between weigh-ins and your match, if you wrestle in a lighter weight class, don’t cut more than 3% of your body weight. This will help ensure that you can fully rehydrate before you step on the mat. I mention lighter weight classes here because they are typically the ones to wrestle first. Therefore, they are more likely to be affected by time between weigh-in and competition.

Finally, when looking to hydrate for certifications- go with water. Here’s a quick excerpt from the first study:

“When a dehyrated individual consumes large volumes of water during rehydration, they will yield copious urine production/volume before euhydration is achieved. Additional fluid volume (e.g., volume equal to 150% BW loss) is needed to compensate for the increased urine production associated with the rapid consumption of large volumes of fluid.”

I know it says that more water will be needed to reach a euhydrated state. But keep in mind that the refractometer measures how much light passes through the liquid (in this case urine) and not necessarily how hydrated you are.

The more solutes you have in your urine (from things like vitamins/minerals from pills, drinks, etc.), the less hydrated your urine will appear to the refractometer. So definitely just drink water. Additionally, be sure to follow a low sodium diet for a 2-3 days before certifications.

Studies Referenced

Valiente, J., A. Utter, J. Quindry, D. Nieman. Effects of commercially formulated water on the hydration status of dehydrated collegiate wrestlers. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 23(8), 2210-2216. 2009.

Valiente, J., A. Utter, J. Quindry, D. Nieman. Effects of rooibos tea, bottled water, and a carbohydrate beverage on blood and urinary measures of hydration after acute dehydration. Research in Sports Medicine: An International Journal. 18(2), 85-96. 2010.

Shirreffs, S., P. Watson, R. Maughan. Milk as an effective post-exercise rehydration drink. British Journal Of Nutrition. 98, 173-180. 2007.

Related Posts:

Weight Loss and Performance

How To Ace Your Certification

Certification Plan

Cutting 101

Cutting 102

Refueling Post Weigh-Ins

A picture of Kyle Dake and Dickie White.
Hi, I’m Dickie (the author of this blog). Here I am with my good buddy, Kyle Dake. While he doesn't have a nice coat like me, he is pretty good at wrestling. Here's what he said about my training system:

Before I began lifting using Dickie's system my wrestling skills were getting slightly better. I've now been lifting under his guidance for more than 5 months and I have begun to dominating ALL of my competition. At first I had little faith in Dickie and his program, but now I would run into a wall if he told me I would get stronger! I know it sounds insane, but I would. The bottom line is Dickie is an expert and knows what he is talking about. If you want to defeat those kids whom you've always lost to and reach a level you never thought possible, I suggest you start lifting using Dickie's system immediately.

-Kyle Dake, 4X NCAA Division 1 National Champion
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13 Comments. Leave new

  • I’m really liking the use of research articles to give scientic backing to these post. In my graduate nutrition studies we constanly havve to reference current articles to justify any thoughts or ideas we have.

    The milk article is very interesting becuase of the protein and fat content in 2% milk. I would surmise that the body will use up any energy available in order to break down said fat and protein, which I believe will slow absorbtion of essential nutritents needed for optimal rehydration.
    I wonder if fat free milk would have better results. Also chocolate mlik rresults would pretty interesting to.

    Reply
    • Hey Oliver, thanks for the positive feedback on the posts. If you ever stumble across a piece of research you think the readers of this blog would benefit from, let me know and I can put it up, or you can guest post, if you’d like.

      Anyway, I think you may be on to something with your thoughts on the milk. The reason being is that the researchers thought that it was the added sodium in the milk that gave it the advantage, however, when more sodium was added to the milk, a greater/faster level of rehydration did not occur.

      On top of that, I decided to look at the sodium in 8oz of Gatorade and 8oz of milk. Here are the 2 links I compared- milk vs Gatorade.

      As you can see, there’s actually 10mg more sodium in 8oz of Gatorade compared to 8oz of 2% milk. So that definitely suggests something else (perhaps the fat and protein as you mention) is causing the enhancement in the rehydration process.

      I think it’s worth mentioning that the milk study (pdf here) was funded by a grant made by the Milk Development Council. Whether or not that had an impact on the fact that the study got published is unknown, but regardless, it’s worth bringing to light.

      Thanks again for the comment man; talk to you soon.

      Reply
  • I actually meant that becuase of the fat and protein content that rehydration will be detered not enhanced.

    And yeah, the milk/dairy council is all powerful and definitely had the researchers in their pockets.

    Reply
    • Oh, got ya. Sorry about that man. But yeah, you’re right on with your second statement I’d bet.

      Reply
  • What about coconut water?

    Reply
    • Hey Nick,

      I’ve used coconut water and think it’s totally fine. When I get the chance tomorrow, I’ll look up to see if there is any research on it.

      Reply
    • Have a look. Nearly every commercial coconut water has its sodium taken out(i wonder why). Its loaded with potasium but no sodium. Its funny because Coconuts from the nut have a lot of sodium so god knows why they take it out !

      Best way to Hydrate is by taking Pink Hymalyian Sea Salt in a little water or gatorade with plenty sodium…Thanks hope this helps

      Reply
  • Yeah I don’t know. It’s weird when ever I’m tired it’s like I can’t get enough of it. But with Gatorade or Water. My stomach hurts or I cramp. But coconut water feels like its right for my body, I don’t know. I’m gonna try it tomorrow in between matches to see how it does.

    Reply
    • Yeah, let me know how it goes. I definitely think that coconut water is the way to go for you. Above all else it comes down to what works best for you, and it sounds like that produces the best results.

      Reply
  • It went great!! I just wish I brought a little bit more. But yeah I went 5-0 with 5 pins in the first period, while being sick lol!

    Reply
    • Damn man, good job. I’d definitely plan on the coconut water from now on, especially based on the fact that you know you respond better to that than water or Gatorade.

      Reply
  • Thanks! Yeah if I want any chance at wrestling in college I gotta bust my ass this season. But alright I’ll stick to coconut water from now on.

    Reply

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