Hydration and Refueling

Hydration and proper refueling are key to better results, including improved fat burn, muscle recovery and hypertrophy (muscle growth).



Most individuals are not drinking enough water. Check out these facts and recommendations from NASM on hydration:

  • Inactive men should drink approximately 13 cups of water a day and inactive women should drink approximately 9 cups of water per day. If either is working to lose body fat, then an additional 8 ounces of water is required for every 25 pounds carried above ideal weight.

  • With respect to hydration and exercising:

Before - two hours before exercise, consume about 2-3 cups of water.

During - every 15-20 minutes, consume another cup of water.

After - consume 2-3 cups of water to rehydrate for every pound of body weight lost.

  • Water is ALWAYS the preferred source of hydration, unless exercise exceeds one hour, at which point a sports drink with up to 8% carbohydrate may be necessary to replenish energy stores.

Also, many individuals do not provide their bodies with adequate food for the increased metabolic processes that result with exercise when they are looking to lose weight. Although we all know that a calorie deficit is required for your overall daily intake if you are trying to lean down, this can be a hindrance to your results if high quality sources of carbohydrate intake are not carefully planned around your workout.

Do not be afraid of the carbohydrate - it is necessary to burn fat and build muscle tone.

Also, timing of carbohydrate consumption with exercise has been proven to aid in the effectiveness of the macronutrient's intake for metabolic function.

Check out these great facts and recommendations from NASM on pre/post exercise refueling:

    • With respect to carbohydrates and exercising moderately/vigorously for approximately an hour:

Before - two hours to four hours before exercise, consume about a high-quality carbohydrate meal. Smaller meals are recommended as you get closer to exercise. A liquid meal may be appropriate when there are time constraints, especially for morning exercise.

After - within 30 minutes, a small carbohydrate meal that is easily digested is recommended to help replenish glycogen stores in the muscles. Additional carbohydrates are recommended post exercising every two hours.

    • Endurance athletes exercising for more than ninety minutes may need to replenish with carbohydrates during exercise.

Remember, diabetics and others with chronic health conditions, especially those taking medications, may need to adjust these numbers to ensure that they have adequate fluids and food sources to maintain their energy stores at constant levels as a means of avoiding lightheadedness, injury or illness during/post exercise. Timing of exercise is also important for diabetics and persons taking various medications. Consult your physician for advice on all of these topics.

Source: NASM Essentials of Personal Fitness Training, Fourth Edition, 2012.