Hydration 101: it's all about the electrolytes, baby
O2 Blog

Hydration 101: it's all about the electrolytes, baby

The CrossFit Open is a wicked challenge that pushes our bodies beyond our limits. It’s brutal, brutal stuff. But, damn it feels good to get it done.

But, how do we do it to the best of our ability, and safely to boot?

Hydration = life

Or, to put it another way: dehydration = death. It’s that easy. But, long before you gasp your last, your body goes through a painful, awful, no-good series of events that includes fatigue, cramps, and decreased mental and physical performance - all of which is pretty easy to avoid with proper hydration.

We don’t want to be dragging ass, especially when we’re trying to rock the Open. So, what’s a CrossFitter to do?

Electrolytes make the magic happen 

What the hell are electrolytes, anyway? Good question. Big-name electrolytes include sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium, and chloride - minerals your body uses to regulate and maintain cellular activity. 

It’s scientifically dense, but the Cliff Notes are that electrolytes help conduct the electricity that allows your muscles and organs to function. 

Yeah. Kind of a big deal. So, what happens when you lose electrolytes without replenishing them?

Keep up that electrolyte game

Things can go downhill pretty quick without sufficient electrolytes; we’re talking everything from behavioral changes to diminished reflexes. Headaches. Arrhythmia. Muscle weakness. Cramps. Confusion. Joint pain. Fatigue. Nausea.

Ugh. Nausea. That alone should be enough to keep you keen on having a tight electrolyte game. Throwing up is worse than … yeah. Everything. It’s the worst.

We lose electrolytes through sweat and urine, but also through everyday involuntary functions, so it’s important to keep our electrolyte balance in check. 

How to electrolyte for the Open and beyond

Know the basics and your body will thank you - while performing better in the Open and life in general.

Before CrossFit: drink at least half of your body weight in ounces of water daily. (For example, if you weigh 160 pounds, you should drink at least 80 ounces of water per day.) Consider adding electrolytes if you’re planning to go hard.

During CrossFit: drink 20 ounces of water for every hour of exercise, and add electrolyte replacement.

After CrossFit: drink at least 20 ounces of water within 30 minutes of finishing your workout, and add electrolyte replacement.

Quick electrolyte tips

  1. Track your fluid intake: know your container sizes and fluid ounces, and/or use a hydration app to track your electrolytes. 

  2. Don’t wait to get thirsty: thirst is a sign you're already dehydrated, so drink early and often - before, during, and after your workout - even if you don't feel thirsty.

  3. Mind the temperature: drink more if it’s hot af, because your body will need to work harder to perform and regulate heat in high temps. 

  4. Check your pee: you want it clear, or light yellow. If your urine is dark yellow or amber, you need to crank up your fluid intake. 

  5. Know your limits: safety first, hard charger. Dizziness, nausea, headache - all potential indicators of bad dehydration mojo.

Good luck out there

Team O2 is rooting for you - and you believe we’re out there, too! Let’s blow up some PRs together, and show the world what we can do. LFG!