Kettlebell Training? Remember To Hydrate!

Why Do I Need To Drink So Much Water?

If you’re training with kettlebells, you know that they’ll get you huffing and puffing like a freight train and sweating like a racehorse.  To keep functioning at your best, you need to hydrate (drink water) frequently, before, during and after your workout.

Many of us use bottled water, but there are some things you should know about the containers that commercially bottled water comes in.  I have several concerns with bottled water, the first of which is, are there really problems with the chemicals from the plastics leeching out into the water and then into our system?  Reading across the web, I don’t see that’s there’s a consensus whether there is or not.

My second problem with bottled water is storage.  The most economical way to buy bottled water is in the large flats (available in warehouse stores, for instance.)  I’ve always run into a problem with storage space, and then having my kids reuse the bottles, sharing germs and leaving their empties around the house.

My third concern is cost.  Granted a flat of bottled water doesn’t cost a lot.  However, when you’re already paying for your well water or city water, why pay extra for bottled water? 

Some will say the taste is different.  Several studies have shown, however, that the taste of tap water is equal to or better than bottled water.  In fact, some bottled water is nothing more than filtered tap water.  So how much water is enough?

Drink When You’re Thirsty?  Or Maybe More Often.

A recent Los Angeles Times report indicated that the long-held belief that 8-10 glasses of water a day may not necessarily be true, and no one they spoke to could name the origins of that belief.  Even an author of a book on water!

Most current research has scaled back the 8-10 glasses of water a day requirement, and replaced it with “drink water when you’re thirsty.”  In fact, an April 2, 2008 CBS News report states that”…researchers argue that a healthy adult only needs to consume the amount of water they lose every day – about a quart-and-a-half, or four to six glasses.”  Seems like common sense, no?

For athletes, and for our purposes, kettlebell athletes, remaining hydrated is a no-brainer.  Just try to complete multiple sets of 25 reps in the swing, one of the easiest kettlebell exercises, without having water handy.  The “simple” swing will get your respiration rate up (you’ll be breathing heavy), and every breath out sends a little moisture from your body with it, not to mention the sweat you’ll be producing and evaporating from your skin.  Having water nearby and drinking a swallow or two between sets will help provide some relief.

Reports do indicate that the longer you exercise (over 60 minutes) the more water you’ll need to prevent dehydration and cramps.  Dehydration, for instance, was one of the main factors that knocked forced 12 teams out of the U.S. Army’s Best Ranger competition this year.

“Day 1 was the roughest Day 1 I have experienced,” said Sgt. Jeremy Billings, a member of Team 9 who teamed up with Sgt. 1st Class Jeremiah Beck to represent the 75th Ranger Regiment. “Last year, it was pretty easy. I did 24 miles, and it was easier than this year on the road march. It was hot; I know teams weren’t drinking water enough. It’s just heat cramps.”

Dehydration decreases blood volume making the heart work harder to push the blood through the circulatory system.  The harder the heart has to work, the more fatigue sets in, which can lead to cramping, heat stroke and heat exhaustion.  To prevent dehydration, the “drink only when thirsty” rule goes out the window.  Oftentimes, when the brain gives the signal to drink, the body is well past the point where a quick drink will help.  Therefore, prior hydration before  and during extended events is key to preventing dehydration.

A Green Solution

Yes, I think many of the current trends towards “Greening” our life go a bit far and cost an arm and a leg, however in this case, I think it’s a win/win situation. 

The answer?  Keep a re-useable bottle handy for your workout or just for your daily activities. 

First, you’ll save money in the long run.  A Camelbak 25 oz., BPA-free bottle will cost you $9.00.  That’s about the cost of two flats of water.  Using your one bottle and water from the tap will save you the cost of the commercially bottles water, free up storage space, and relieve you from having to take up valuable space in your recycling bin.

Second, many hard plastic water bottles contain the chemical Bisphenol-A (BPA), and while current research is not conclusive as to the long-term effects of BPA, why take the chance if a healthier alternative is available?

Third, metal bottles sometimes affect the flavor of whatever you put in them.  And if it tastes funny, you’ll be less likely to drink it.  Which then defeats the whole purpose of staying hydrated! 

Those of us that use kettlebells play the “Green” way using a minimum of equipment and a minimum of space while maximizing our health, so take it one step further and consider a re-useable water bottle.  Remember, stay hydrated and stay healthy!

16 ounce –

REI CamelBak Classic Bottle - 16 oz.

25 ounce –

REI CamelBak Classic Bottle - 25 oz.

32 ounce –

REI CamelBak Classic Bottle - 32 oz.


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