Preventative Measures for Beating the Heat

The ALTA Mixed Doubles playoffs begin this Saturday, and the forecast calls for another brutally hot day, with expected temperatures in the mid-90s and expected humidity hovering around 60 percent. Whether or not you are a tennis player, a golfer, a runner, a hiker or simply planning to engage in strenuous yard work during the hot and humid days ahead, Points North Atlanta summoned nutritional expert Chad Cook of Players Performance Institute (PPI) for advice on avoiding heat exhaustion, heat stroke, dehydration and more. Replenishing fluids is vital, but planning ahead prior to your vigorous workout is the best preventative medicine. Chad provided excerpts from many sources and passed along the information to us.

Q: What’s the best way to stay hydrated every day?
A: We recommend drinking half an ounce to an ounce of water per pound of body weight every day. If you weigh 200 pounds, that’s 100-200 ounces of water a day.

Q: What’s the best way to hydrate during an intense training session?
A: On top of every day hydration, we also recommend 16 ounces of cold water two hours before the training session, 6-8 ounces every 10-15 minutes during training sessions longer than an hour, and 16 ounces for every pound lost post-workout. When the workout session is more intense or longer than an hour, opt for a sports drink or Catalyte Isotonic to replace vitamins and minerals your body needs. Remember, losing as little as 2 percent of your body weight loss during a workout can compromise your health and performance. G2 or similar sports drinks with lower sugar levels are best for those individuals with weight problems. Pre-hydrating with beverages, if needed, should be initiated at least several hours before the exercise task to enable fluid absorption and allow urine output to return toward normal levels. Consuming beverages with sodium and/or salted snacks or small meals with beverages can help stimulate thirst and retain needed fluids. Because there is considerable variability in sweating rates and sweat electrolyte content between individuals, customized fluid replacement programs are recommended. Individual sweat rates can be estimated by measuring body weight before and after exercise.

Athletes (and weekend warriors) who exercise one hour or less will not need as much electrolyte/energy replenishment (if any) as longer duration endurance athletes. Cook recommended three options for electrolyte/energy replenishment. The two supplement options listed below are what he carries at PPI. They are professional grade and NSF Certified assuring their supplements have the identity, strength, composition, quality, and purity that appear on the product’s label while enabling athletes, coaches, and trainers to make informed decisions when choosing nutritional supplements for sports performance. A pinch of Celtic or Himalayan Sea Salt with water, EXOS Catalyte Isotonic or Klean Electrolytes.

Q: How do I know if I’m dehydrated during a workout?
A: There are a few ways. First, weigh yourself before and after your workout. If you lose more than 2 percent of your body weight, you’re not hydrating enough during your workout. Another simple way is to pay attention to your mouth. If it feels dry, you’re most likely dehydrated. The last option is to look at your urine. It should be clear or a light lemonade color. If it’s dark yellow, hydrate immediately. Do a hydration check midday. The color of your urine is a great way to gauge hydration. Make it your goal to achieve clearer urine by 3 p.m. every day. Did you know most fruits and vegetables contain 80 percent water? Eat your way to better hydration with these foods. Thirst can often be confused for hunger. Drink three big gulps of water with every meal or snack to ensure you’re satisfying your body’s need for water. Reach for an electrolyte replacement drink like Catalyte Isotonic to help replenish vitamins and minerals lost in sweat.

Building the perfect breakfast for an active day, try to balance high-fiber carbs (whole wheat toast, cereal, oatmeal), protein (yogurt, milk, eggs), healthy fats (nuts, nut butters, avocado) and 20 ounces of fluid (in addition to any coffee).

Here are a few sample breakfasts:
Egg Sandwich: Whole wheat English muffin, one slice of Canadian bacon, one slice of 2 percent cheese and mustard.
Hard-Boiled Eggs: 2-3 hard-boiled eggs (lightly salted or drizzled with hot sauce), two slices of whole wheat toast and a banana.
Oatmeal: One serving of oatmeal, a spoonful of peanut butter, and one cup of berries

Cook cautions most individuals to steer clear of breads and pastas for a multitude of reasons. “For example, grains can have inflammatory affects on the body so I wouldn’t recommend them for certain individuals,” Cook said. He also cautions individuals with intolerances or allergies from having any milk prior to going into the heat.

Cook’s final thought is something for all of us to consider: every athlete is unique and may have different needs. The team at Players Performance Institute are dedicated to health, fitness, nutrition, and performance solutions that target an individual’s unique needs. You can read more about Chad and PPI in the August issue of Points North Atlanta.

Chad Cook
Director of Performance
Players Performance Institute