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Too Much Of A Good Thing, Or Not Enough? What Water Means To You And Your Personal Trainer

Water is one of the most basic building blocks of life, but knowing how much is enough and how much is too much has been a point of contention in the personal training world. If your personal trainer is particular about your water consumption, learn the differences between extreme water abstinence and over-hydration. Your personal trainer should be somewhere in between.

"Don't Drink the Water"

There was a time when trainers instructed their athletes to avoid drinking water during workouts. These trainers theorized that, by abstaining from water during training, an athlete will develop into an even tougher performer. During competitions, when water is readily available, the athlete will allegedly perform stronger and have an edge over those athletes who have not conditioned their bodies to "toughen up."

Thankfully, this approach has no legitimate basis; furthermore, if your personal trainer follows this method, you should run--not walk--away (with proper hydration first, of course!). As a matter of fact, abstaining from water during training can lead to not only decreased athletic performance, but also a potentially untimely, preventable death. The risks are especially high in the hot, summer months. A dehydrated athlete's body cannot cool off appropriately, resulting in life-threatening heat strokes and less-serious but still preventable cramping and heat exhaustion. 

The Fix: Before you even step foot on the track, field, or gym, first ensure that you enter your workout hydrated. Once you start your workout, drink 8-10 ounces of water at least every fifteen minutes. If you feel dizzy, sluggish, or still really thirsty, consider pausing for a few minutes and reassessing your workout. You may not be as hydrated as you think.

"The More Water, The Better"

On the opposite side of the spectrum are the personal trainers who advise you to drink too much water. Yes, you can, indeed, drink too much water! 

If you are over-hydrated, you are at risk of hyponatremia, a condition that results when you have too little sodium in your bloodstream. When you drink too much water, your bloodstream's sodium levels become diluted and the excess water enters your cells, causing them to swell. In severe cases, the cellular swelling occurs in the brain--something that can lead to a coma, and even death. Before hyponatremia progresses to this level, however, you will notice symptoms like nausea, muscle spasms, and headaches. 

The Fix: To prevent dehydration but avoid hyponatremia, exchange your water bottle with a sports drink, or alternate your hydration breaks between water and a sports drink. Sports drinks have electrolytes and sodium, ensuring that your bloodstream's sodium level remains at a healthy level. By incorporating sports drinks into your workout fluid routine, you can remain both hydrated and balanced.