Here are some of the most important points regarding pre-practice hydration made in a journal article I read recently.
Proper hydration before practice, or any other physical endeavor, is necessary for both safe and effective training.
Below are some strategies to consider when looking to optimize your hydration. Obviously, these are more geared toward practice because in a match situation you don’t have a lot of time between weighing in and having to wrestle.
1. Before practice (in an ideal world), the wrestler should have fully replenished glycogen stores and be adequately hydrated. If you’re making weight the next day, this probably won’t be the case. But do the best you can, especially for practices that aren’t immediately before a weigh-in.
2. Dehydration typically occurs in wrestlers who perform intense workouts/practices on consecutive days (which is pretty standard). This is usually coupled with fluid restriction to make weight. It is important to develop an understanding of what it is to be adequately hydrated. On days that you can, make sure you are hydrated before practice.
3. Again, if possible, wrestlers should do their best to eat regular meals to ensure they stay hydrated. Remember, 69-78% of fluids consumed during a day are done so at meal time. Most of the time, water is an acceptable pre-practice beverage because the average U.S. diet contains enough carbohydrate and electrolytes.
4. Some “Gatorade knowledge” from the authors- electrolytes help wrestlers regain the right fluid-electrolyte balance from dehydration as a result of sweating.
5. The authors suggest wrestlers should drink between 17 to 20 ounces of fluid somewhere between 2 and 3 hours before practice. They also suggest that 10-20 minutes before practice or exercise, wrestlers drink an additional 7 to 10 ounces of fluid.
6. Be sure to monitor your body weight, urine color, and if you have access to a refractometer, your urine specific gravity as indicators of your hydration status. Track these numbers and compare them to your practice performance to determine your optimal hydration level.
Hoffman, J., C. Maresh. Nutrition and Hydration Issues for Combat Sports Athletes. Strength and Conditioning Journal. 33(6), 10-17. December 2011.