In both the 2015 and 2016 CrossFit Games, athletes completed “Murph” which consists of a 1 mile run, 100 pull ups, 200 push ups, and 300 air squats, followed by a 1 mile run- all while wearing a weighted vest. The 2016 variation of Murph was slightly different as athletes were able to complete the bodyweight movements in 5 rounds of 20 pull ups, 40 push ups, and 60 squats, but none-the-less, the same amount of work was done. Yet, despite being essentially the same workout, the athletes had a much easier time with Murph this year.
In 2015, many of the Games athletes suffered heat exhaustion. In fact, Annie Thorisdottir reported having blurred vision and difficulty standing post-Murph. While she was able to pull herself together for the next event, the snatch ladder, she ultimately withdrew from Games. Likewise, Kara Webb was treated for heatstroke after Murph. Because of the heatstroke, she has no memory of finishing Murph and was unable to compete at full capacity for the rest of the weekend.
This year, however, CrossFit HQ made preparations to protect the competitors from heat ailments and dehydration. The event was held earlier in the day when it wasn’t as hot and the route for the run was changed so the athletes wouldn’t be blasted by the sun. Also, coolers filled with water bottles were made accessible to the athletes throughout the Games, a change from the year prior.
The improved performances and faster recovery of this year’s competitors should remind all athletes to pay close attention to their hydration. Proper hydration will ensure that we are getting maximal results from our training and it’s most important to be conscious of this during the summer months.
We all know that it is important to drink water, but many people don’t get enough through out the day.
How do you determine what is enough water for your body? There are a few different methods but the easiest thing to do is to multiply your body weight in pounds by 0.5 and then drink that amount of water in ounces. So, if you weigh 130lbs, you would need to drink 65 ounces of water per day.
Body Weight x 0.5= Ounces of Water Needed Per Day
Then, for every hour you exercise, add another eight ounces of water. This is, of course, just a general gauge to determine if you are drinking enough water, but if you strive to reach this number, you should be pretty decently hydrated. Of course if you work outside or are training in a gym without air conditioning, you need to increase your water intake a bit more.
Another way to determine if you are properly hydrated is to check the color of your urine. The color of your urine is a great indicator of your current hydration level. If your urine matches numbers 1, 2, or 3 on the chart below, you are properly hydrated. Once you start to see darker yellows, you are significantly dehydrated. The darker the color, the more likely you are to experience muscle cramping, fatigue, difficulty focusing, or even heat stroke.
During intense exercise, you should also drink a sports drink that will provide your body with electrolytes. Your body needs potassium and sodium, which are both electrolytes, to ensure that your cells are able to function properly. As electrolytes, they are able to conduct electricity and electrical impulses are what tell your muscle fibers to contract. Without enough electrolytes, your body will feel sluggish. Likewise, sodium allows your body to retain water which will minimize the risk of dehydration.
If you are already severely dehydrated, another good idea is to get your hands on some Pedialyte. Pedialyte has an even higher concentration of electrolytes than sports drinks do so it will help you rehydrate faster. I keep Pedialyte Ice Pops in my freezer to help me rehydrate if it’s an exceptionally hot day. (Pro Tip: They also work wonders for a hangover!).
When you are hydrated, everything is better. Your muscles and brain are comprised of about 75% water which is why you you need to monitor your fluid intake. Water is needed to regulate body heat, lubricate joints, cushion the brain, transport nutrients through out the body… The list goes on.
Be mindful of proper H20 intake. Start drinking enough to maintain hydration, and get your hands on some electrolytes to help your body recover from difficult workouts. A properly hydrated athlete is always going to get more out of their workout than one who is dehydrated so if you want to be a successful athlete, consider hydration to be a part of your nutritional plan.