Hydration: Under and over

Not so much a clever title because I'm doing a public service announcement. I've seen first hand the dangers of dehydration [and suffered them] and more recently have been around what happens when someone is over hydrated and get's sick.

Dehydration is the more common occurrence so I'm going to address this first.

Our body is 2/3 water most of it being within cells and small portion separating the cells. If you weigh 150 lbs your holding onto 100 pounds of water [simple math]. You may be dehydrated because of: Excessive sweating; excessive urine output; fever; vomiting/diarrhea. A lot of things can lead to being dehydrated, if you drink a lot of caffeine and you don't bring in water you will begin to dry out. Breathing alone pulls water from the body in the form of vapors. Symptoms go as follows: Dry/sticky mouth; lethargy; low to no urine output [dark yellow or brown urine]; no tears; sunken eyes.


The first thing we need to do is reduce the amount of salt intake [being dehydrated can mean you have a higher sodium concentration then desired]. The best thing is to try and bring in around 2-3 gallons of water to optimize hydration. If you see 2 clear pee's a day your doing good, more than that and you could be flirting with overhydration [we'll talk about that in a sec] As an athlete it's okay to take in some salts because normally you're body will purge water and sodium through sweat [if you think your dehydrated but your sweat has no salt taste too it you're overhydrated]. During activity it's ideal to take in sugars and water [sugars will boost blood glucose levels and help keep water in the cells]

Doctors orders:
2-3 gallons of water per day [increase or reduce based off of urine color and amount]
minimize salt & sugar intake unless participating in athletics

Overhydration, yes you can have too much water and basically drown your cells [brain first].

The easiest way for a disease free person to develop overhydration is to be malnourished and consuming over 3 gallons of water a day. It is hard to do this but over time a lack of food and salts will lead to this. Dieting can be given the number one offense for this because some times we forget that our bodies a well balanced machine. The way our blood works is that it balances out sodium and water stores to it's liking. If one gets more than the other the body will try to correct [dark salty urine when dehydrated, clear as water urine when overhydrated]

Symptoms include: nausea, mental confusion, delusional, fatigue, and lethargy. Many of those symptoms are also associated with dehydration, the only way to differ is: are you sweating? What's your pee color? How has your diet and drinking been? If the answers are: yes; clear; low calorie and lots of agua, then your overhydrated.

If you get to the point of nausea your body is going to purge the water vertically, right out of your mouth. This can be caused by nausea and exaggerated by it. The best cure is to find anti-nausea medicine and lick salt or eat pickles [i kid you not]. The goal is to bring in as much sodium as you can before your body calls it quits. If you just realized you feel weak and fuzzy in the head you can stop this early [i usually catch myself at this stage]. Lick salt, drink gatorade, something along these lines to restore balance. I drink 2-3 gallons of water at a time but my diet is sometimes too light, so i keep salt in my room and just shoot it.

The main point of this is that de/over-hydration reduces athleticism and in the long run can lead to serious problems. No athlete want's to find themselves under performing [no gym rat wants to struggle with a warm up] and they definitely don't want to have renal failure.

Drink plenty of water, but be careful [don't drown on land]

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About Me

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BS, MS - exercise Physiology
EPC - Board Certified Exercise Physiologist

Published Thesis
The impact of three different forms of warm up on performance

The Effects of Glucose Supplementation on Barbell Velocity and Fatiguability in Weightlifting - A pilot study"

The Accute Effects Of Different Squat Intensities on Vertical Jump Performances
The Accute Effects of Different Squat Intensities On Jump Performance

Graduate from Midwestern State University, founder of Endunamoo Barbell Club, and Endunamoo Strength and Conditioning. Working to help athletes physically reach their goals and achieve scholarships while spiritually pouring into as many people as possible on all platforms.