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A Registered Dietician Weighs In On The Importance of Hydration

By March 7, 2014 No Comments

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If you want to Fly with the best of them, staying hydrated is essential to getting the most out of your workout. With Flyers burning anywhere from 500 to 800 calories per class, it’s vital to properly prep your body—and replenish with vital liquids and nutrients afterwards.  As we exercise, we sweat, and as we sweat our body loses fluids, causing dehydration. High-cardio classes like Flywheel also deplete the body of electrolytes like sodium and potassium, ultimately affecting pH balance and muscle function. So what’s a Flyer to do?

For starters, consume lots of water, says Jackie Topol, a registered dietician and private nutrition counselor based in New York City. Topol recommends drinking 16 ounces (two large glasses) of water about two hours before exercising, allowing your body to properly absorb all that H20 goodness. Sports drinks are OK, but aim for one with less sugar—the unnecessary calories and high sugar content will slow your body’s attempts to absorb fluid. Another choice is lowfat chocolate milk, which contains both carbs and protein that your muscles can put to good use. And though some studies suggest that caffeine provides an energy lift before aerobic exercise, that jacked-up iced coffee or Earl Grey tea is seriously fluid-depleting, acting as a super-charged diuretic; save it for another part of the day.

After class is where things get really interesting—and where you need to do a little extra work. To return your body to a state of grace, Topol advises at least a 20-ounce intake of fluids. Water works just fine, but for extra replenishment, make some or all of that intake an electrolyte-laden beverage. Traditionally that means  a sports drink, but many natural juices—coconut water, watermelon juice, and cucumber juice—contain the goodness of electrolytes directly from nature. Chomping on some celery, cucumber, honeydew melon or orange slices—all naturally high in electrolytes—will help you rebound even faster. Finally, though sodium often gets a bad rap, it’s actually a vital nutrient that helps us retain fluids. So feel free to have a few salted nuts, kale chips, or other good-for-you snack.

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Hydrating Elixir
This post-Fly beverage is as delicious as it is electrolyte-packed.

  • 1 cup coconut water
  • ½ cup pineapple juice or watermelon juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • Cucumber slice or celery stick for garnish

Combine coconut water, juice, and salt in a tall glass and stir to dissolve salt. Add ice to glass and garnish with cucumber or celery stick.

Top Post-Workout Hydrating Foods
According to nutritionist Jackie Topol, these are the most hydrating foods you can eat or drink after a workout:

  •  Cucumbers
  • Celery
  • Watermelon
  • Strawberries
  • Orange
  • Grapefruit
  • Apples
  • Cantaloupe
  • Honeydew
  • Pineapple
  • Green Smoothie
  • Coconut Water

Get more nutrition information from Jackie Topol here on her site

Stay fueled! Find more FLY Fuel nutrition tips here.