Post-Workout Dehydration: Everything you need to know

Post-Workout Dehydration

Recovering from a workout is as important as the hard effort itself. One of the most fundamental ways to boost post-workout recovery, however, has often been overlooked! While many understand the role that hydration plays during exercise, the power of post-workout hydration could be the missing link in unlocking optimal performance.

Below are some of the things that happen to your body if you ignore its signals and don’t drink water after working out.

You contribute to skin aging.

It’s proven that sports have a rejuvenating effect on our skin. Thanks to the skin’s blood flow cells get enriched with oxygen, collagen production increases, and wrinkles get smaller. Our body needs the right amount of fluid to help the blood circulate well.

You lose water, not fat.

Some people think that if they don’t drink water while exercising, they’ll lose weight faster. Yes, you’ll see the effect on your scale right after a workout. But, you don’t lose excess fat, you lose water. And as soon as you drink your scale will show a different result.

A lack of water doesn’t allow us to burn fat cells effectively. Normal blood circulation that enriches cells with oxygen isn’t possible because of the water shortage.

Toxins stay in our bodies.

During physical exercises, our body gets rid of toxins through skin blood flow and heavy sweating. But if you don’t supply your body with enough water, sweating won’t be that intense and most of the toxins will stay in your body.

Workout effectiveness decreases.

Scientists think that dehydration has a negative impact on workout effectiveness. If you lose 5% of fluids, your workout effectiveness will be reduced by 30%. If you lose 2% of fluids, it means that you’re not letting your body burn fat or grow muscle.

You start experiencing muscle pain.

Muscle pain occurs after a good workout. But if you don’t drink enough water, this pain could last longer than just a couple of days.

Microtraumas that occur during exercises can only be healed if muscle fibers get protein and carbohydrates. And this is only possible if there’s enough water in our body.

Cardiac load increases.

If you don’t consume enough fluid your blood gets thicker and your vessels constrict to save the limited amount of water. As a result, the heart's work increases because the heart tries to make thick blood flow through narrow vessels.

This could cause tachycardia, shortness of breath, and high blood pressure. Even if you’re healthy and do these types of workouts regularly, your heart will suffer anyway.

Swelling occurs.

It’s hard to believe, but if you don’t drink enough water during workouts swelling is likely to occur. Our body feels the loss of fluid and tries to save it. As a result, swelling and dark circles under the eyes occur.

Concentration decreases, tiredness increases.

Even if you lose just 1-2% of the fluid, your concentration and attention decrease, and tension and fatigue increase. And it causes the feeling of constant fatigue and a bad mood.

You start eating more.

We often confuse hunger with thirst. So if you don’t drink while doing exercises and feel hungry right after, your body probably just needs some water. First, drink a glass of water and if you still feel hungry don’t hesitate to have a snack.

4 Ways Post-Workout Dehydration Relief is Crucial to Recovery

Water plays a significant role in the process of recovery - from helping digest vital nutrients to repairing muscles damaged during exercise. Remember that our muscles are actually 75% water! Here are 4 ways that water will aid your recovery and help you make your next workout even better than the last:

  • 1. Muscular Repair.

Exercise causes muscles to become stronger by first breaking them down and then rebuilding them using muscle protein synthesis. This protein synthesis, however, requires that muscles are well hydrated. If you are dehydrated following a workout, the protein synthesis that rebuilds muscles will be slowed and subsequently will delay your recovery from the workout.

  • 2. Digestion.

After a big workout, eating enough to refuel your body and replenish glycogen stores is critical to recovery. The digestion of food also requires the presence of adequate water. Saliva, which helps break down food, is composed primarily of water and is crucial to digest and absorb all of the nutrients you are eating. Rehydrating properly after a workout aids in the efficiency of the digestive process.

  • 3. Reduced Fatigue.

One of the most common signs of dehydration is fatigue. When you are dehydrated, your blood volume is decreased which means that the heart has to work harder to pump the blood to all of the parts of your body that need its vital oxygen and nutrients. This fatigue not only hinders post-workout recovery but feeling fatigued and lethargic reduces motivation for your next big workout.

  • 4. Heart Rate Recovery.

A 2012 study of the role of hydration in athletic performance found that hydration had a large impact on recovery (Moreno et al., 2012). In the experiment, individuals did a 90 minute run on a treadmill under one of two conditions - either they drank a sports drink during and after the workout or they did not hydrate at all. The experiment found that the individuals who hydrated showed significantly faster heart rate recovery following the workout which indicates that their bodies more quickly recovered from the stress of exercise.

The Exact Amount Of Water You Need To Drink After A Workout

To figure out the exact amount of water you'll need to rehydrate, Adams suggests weighing yourself immediately before and after a workout, without drinking anything in between. You'll want to drink about 150% of the water weight you just lost (that extra 50% is to make up for all the stuff you'll inevitably pee out, he says). So if you weigh 1 pound less after an hour-long workout, you'll need to drink 1.5 pounds of water or about 3 cups. You don't need to force yourself to down it all immediately, says Adams, but the sooner you drink it, the sooner you'll slow your heart rate back down to normal.


Rehydration after exercise clearly has a large impact on recovery. Particularly as hot summer weather approaches - it becomes crucial to develop a post-workout hydration protocol that replenishes the liquids, electrolytes, and sodium lost during exercise. Focusing on hydration will give you the extra boost you need to recover from a hard workout and get the most out of the next one!

Leave a Comment
Previous Post Next Post

Post a Comment

Post a Comment