I’m going to talk a bit about your sweat rate, because hydration can have a big impact on your physical and mental performance.
Do you sweat loads and not drinking enough afterwards? Or maybe you think you sweat more than you actually do and consequently you’re drinking too much?
Let’s get stuck in…
But skip to the bottom for a summary if you like! Or get a free PDF version you can read whenever, plus I’ll give you another FREE little bonus too!
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1. What Is Sweat Rate?
This is the amount you sweat during a given timeframe. Everyone’s different and has different sweat rates – some sweat more than others. Because of this, one size fits all is not the case when it comes to a hydration strategy. A Sports/Exercise Dietitian can help you.
2. Why’s It Important?
If you typically sweat loads, then you’ll need to drink more to replace these fluid losses, so you can keep your body working properly. Our bodies can tolerate and adapt to level of dehydration, but if you want to be on top form, then you need to know what your fluid losses are so you appropriately replace them. Have a look at The 4 R’s of Exercise Recovery
3. What’s In My Sweat?
Maybe sounds gross, but this is important.
Sweat is mostly water and salt (electrolytes). And your body needs these to function properly, hence it’s important to replace these.
4. How Do I Know How Much I’ve Sweated?
Well, obviously you need to do more than just look at how soaked with sweat your clothes and trainers/boots are! Although, looking at your kit is handy to see if you’ve lost loads of salt – those white marks and patches on your kit is salt.
If there’s shed loads of thick, white patches, then you’re likely a heavy salt sweater. Clearly this isn’t accurate, so unless you happen to be able to access a lab where they can measure this (!), then this will help.
A very simple way is to weigh yourself before and after exercise. Get your FREE step by step guide here to work out how much you sweat. This is your first step to working out your hydration strategy or fluid plan!
5. How Do I Replace My Sweat Losses?
Drink enough fluids to replace what you’ve lost as sweat, plus a bit more!
There’s different types of drinks you can use – check this out.
Generally, it’s recommended to have about 125-150% of the amount of sweat you’ve lost. Unless you’re all over it (and so good for you!), then you’re probably thinking how do I work this out then! Here’s how!
6. When Do I Need To Replace My Sweat Losses?
It’s best to keep on top of your hydration levels, as being dehydrated can make feel tired; put more strain on your body; make you feel like you’re exercising harder than what you really are, and hence can reduce your performance. So it can impact on your physical and mental performance. Not good. Check out my post on hydration here.
Dehydrating yourself to “make weight” can be fatal. But. Being over-hydrated, as in having drunk too much water compared to how much you’ve sweated, can also cause dramas. And can also be fatal if not treated.
I’ve known of soldiers who’ve had a heavy PT session or been out on the hills for SF training, and piled in because they’ve drunk too much water (obviously there could’ve been other reasons too). And they’ve only had water – no sports drinks or snacks to have with it either. So they were tanning the wrong type of fluids and too much.
Remember I said you can weigh yourself before and after exercise to see how much sweat you’ve lost (and hopefully you’ve downloaded your FREE step by step guide – if not, do it now!)… well, if you find you’ve lost more than 2% of your body weight, then this can have an increasing impact on your performance. So, you need to minimise the amount you lose by keeping topped up.
Being dehydrated can reduce alertness and concentration, which can compromise performance during exercise and sports requiring a high level of skill and concentration. But also, if you’re a soldier on stag, you could end up compromising your team’s safety!
8. Don’t Sweat It – Here’s Your Summary
- Sweat rate is how much you sweat during exercise
- Our (adult) body is made up of ~60% water, so it’s essential to be properly hydrated
- Sweat contains water and electrolytes, which must be replaced
- If you find shed loads of thick, white marks on your kit where you’ve sweated, you’re probably a heavy salt sweater
- Get your FREE step by step sweat rate calculator here!
- Replace your fluid losses with 125-150% – e.g. if you lost ~1Kg from before exercise to after, then you would need to drink ~1250-1500mL to rehydrate
- Monitor your hydration levels – check your pee as a quick guide
- Avoid being dehydrated and over-hydrated (drinking more than you lost), as both can reduce your performance, but can also have serious consequences if excessive and untreated
Hope you enjoyed this and found it useful. Let me know – I read all your emails and messages.
Remember to get your step by step sweat rate calculator to help you work towards coming up with a suitable hydration strategy, so you can avoid compromising your performance!…and health.
The info presented here is just for general use, so if you want tailored advice, specific to you, then get in touch.
It is crucial to get your food and fluid intake right if you want to control your IBS symptoms, and if you want train harder, go faster and recover quicker from training sessions and competitions. Dietary requirements are highly individualised and there’s no ‘one size fits all’ approach. Working with a Registered Clinical & Sports Dietitian to develop a bespoke plan based on your unique requirements will help to ensure the most appropriate strategy and best results are achieved.
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