Is Proper Hydration During BFR Training Really Necessary?
Your first question may be: Is hydration really all that important during strength training? The answer is a without a doubt, yes! Research has shown that dehydration in performance-based sports can increase body temperature and heartbeat, decrease the ability to perform and create lower fatigue tolerance. Dehydration of as little as one percent can have an impact on performance. For an athlete who weighs 150 pounds, this amounts to 1.5 pounds of fluid, which is around three cups of water. As dehydration progresses, “explosive” ability and cognitive function will worsen.
How Hydrated Do You Need to Be?
Opinions on optimal hydration levels vary widely. A study performed in 2015 tested cycling athletes for a 12-mile ride in two hours’ time or less. The study showed that even a three percent loss in body fluids did not have a negative impact in the performance of these athletes. Training in a slightly dehydrated state has been used to help athletes prepare for extended competitions such as marathons and triathlons. In some cases, this training technique has resulted in an increase in performance levels. When properly carried out, a mild state of dehydration may have a positive influence on your training program.
However, a 2007 study evaluated the effects of dehydration on individuals participating in a resistance training program. When performing a single set of any given exercise, the subjects did not show any measurable difference in how well they performed. However, when performing multiple sets of that same exercise, there was a marked difference in the ability of the subjects to maintain the same level of performance.
How Much Water to Consume
Much of the research done on the effects of dehydration on athletes was performed in hot and/or humid conditions. Most of those doing BFR training do their workouts in the air-conditioned comfort of a gym, whether a public gym or a home gym. If you are working out in heat, you will require more water than if you are operating in climate-controlled conditions.
The suggested amount of water to consume before, during and after a workout is difficult to pin down. The varying results of all the studies performed on the subject leave a good deal of gray areas that have yet to be filled in. However, there are several things that you can do to ensure that you are maintaining an adequately hydrated state.
Understand Your Warning Signs of Dehydration
If you are aware of the first symptoms of dehydration while using occlusion bands, you will be better able to catch the problem before it becomes acute. Early symptoms of dehydration include:
- Mild thirst
- Flushed skin
- Increased effort needed to achieve the same results
- Flushed or reddening skin
- More rapid heart rate and breathing rate
- Increased core temperature
- Less time to fatigue
Symptoms of more severe dehydration include:
- Trouble breathing
- Dizziness or vertigo
Track Your Fluid Levels
Most people rely on the more obvious signs of dehydration before they take action. If you are proactive about maintaining proper fluid levels, you can avoid any decline in your performance and any of the health risks associated with more serious dehydration levels. Simple tracking methods are listed below.
Color of Your Urine
You can check this throughout the course of the day, but keep in mind that the consumption of certain foods (such as beets) can change the color of your urine. Dark colored urine is generally a sign of dehydration, while colorless urine signifies too much water consumption. Your urine should range from a pale straw color to a transparent yellow.
Skin turgor refers to the elasticity of your skin and how quickly it returns to normal after being pinched. You can check the turgor of your skin by pinching the skin on the back of your hand for a couple seconds. Observe how long it takes for your skin to return to normal. The longer your skin takes to regain its normal position, the more likely you are to be dehydrated.
There are plenty of tech products you can use to help you track your hydration levels. These include devices you can wear to track your body levels, scales that measure the fluid levels in your body and water bottles that help you monitor how much water you are consuming.
Keep An Eye on Sweat Levels
You can calculate your sweat levels to help determine how much weight have you lost. The formula to use is as follows:
Sweat Rate Calculation: (A + B) / C
A = Pre-exercise weight minus post-exercise weight listed as ounces
B = Ounces of fluid consumed during exercise
C = Time of exercise in hours
Keeping track of your sweat rate will help you determine how much fluid you lose during the course of each workout.
If you have a plan to hydrate while exercising with your BFR Bands, you are less likely to become dehydrated. Maintaining hydration levels will help you ensure that proper levels are maintained throughout the training season and that you do not have any decline in performance. Fluid amounts will depend your size, your gender and the conditions of your workout environment. The following amounts are for the average male athlete.
Before you work out: 16-32 ounces two to three hours before you start followed by 8-16 ounces 15 to 25 minutes before you begin.
During the workout: Four ounces every 15 to 20 minutes. If your workout extends beyond an hour, consume electrolyte/carbohydrate drinks every 15 minutes after the 60-minute mark.
After the workout: Consume 16 to 20 ounces of fluid for every pound you lost.
Dehydration has the ability to send you two steps backwards for every step forward that you take. Maintaining proper fluid levels will ensure that you are able to keep working at your peak and achieve your goals.