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…for everyone, but no one more so than an athlete.

By, Carolyn Fetters; CEO and Founder of Balanced Habits™ Nutrition & Wellness

At Balanced Habits™ we like to provide this visual aide for our client’s to monitor their level of hydration. This system takes the variables out of the equation and allows people to closely monitor their hydration level in a very simple and practical way. 

We refer to this is tracking urine 
as “Monitoring your CSF” 


Although, as explained above proper hydration is essential for everyone whether they’re an athlete or not. However athletes need to pay closer attention to their level of hydration due to the demands they place on their body. We want to place a little closer attention to these folks than the general guideline of the shade of urine so that dehydration does not occur nor affect their performance.

Why is drinking adequate fluids important?

Your body does not have a water reservoir for storage; therefore it is important to replace fluids throughout the day, every day


  • Maintains body temperature. Helps prevent you from overheating
  • Is essential for digestion, absorption and removal of waste products

What can happen if I don’t drink enough water?

  • Your strength and endurance will decrease
  • Heat exhaustion, heat stroke and even death may occur
  • Muscle cramping

Advice for Athletes:
Do NOT rely on your thirst mechanism to tell you to drink. 
If you feel thirsty, it is too late. Your body has begun to feel the effects from dehydration and your performance will suffer along with your body. Do NOT wait that long.

  • Tweak these guidelines to meet your needs
  • Timing Recommendations
  • Every day drink adequate fluids. Roughly 1 ml for every calorie consumed 
IE: If you eat 4,000 calories, drink 4,000 ml of fluids (4L)
  • 2 – 3 hours before training /competition 17 oz. of fluid
  • Immediately prior to training /competition 6 – 12 oz. of fluid
  • Every 15 – 20 minutes during training /competition 6 – 12 oz. of fluid
  • After exercise 24 oz. for every pound lost from the training session or competition

Quick Conversion

  • 1,000 ml = 1 liter
  • 1 liter = 32 oz.
  • 240 ml = 8 oz.
  • 8 oz. = 1 cup

Endurance Athletes: 
Must pay close attention to hydration, be aware of the weather and how it might affect their hydration levels, and never allow their body to experience dehydration. This is the difference between a winning performance or not. An endurance athlete should never get behind and try to catch up with hydration. This must be “practiced” constantly during training periods so nothing is left to chance on the day of a competition.

Final thought: 
Pay attention to the color of your urine and the frequency of urination. If your urine is a dark color or has a scent to it, you are likely dehydrated. Shoot for straw colored or light yellow scentless urine to gauge proper hydration levels. There is no better “test” to track hydration levels than actual urine.

Remember: (CSF) Color-Scent-Frequency

Nutrition & Hydration Guidance

Although you may not think “water” when discussing nutrition, it is the most important of all nutrients. Our bodies are comprised of around 60% water. Unlike going without food, we would not last long without water. And it plays some pretty important roles in our health and well-being, such as:

  • Temperature regulation
  • Joint lubrication
  • Nutrient transportation
  • Waste removal
  • Support cell shape and structure

Let’s face it your client’s are not always compliant with the guidance you provide them. In fact, if we could spend one entire month of the most beneficial behavior they could implement, it would be focused on proper hydration. The majority of people would prefer to drink about anything other than clear water, so how can you help them get in more fluids with the foods they are consuming?

What hydrates better than water?

Research shows that milk is one of the best beverages for hydration, even better than water or sports drinks. Researchers credit milk’s natural electrolytes, carbohydrates, and protein for its effectiveness

What is the most hydrating food in the world?

Cucumbers are made up of around 96% water – that’s the highest water content of any food. They’re also low in calories, and a source of vitamins and fiber.

15 High Water Content Foods To Help Stay Hydrated

Bell Peppers / Water content: 92%
Nutritionally adds: fiber, vitamins and minerals, such as B vitamins and potassium. Bell peppers also contain carotenoid antioxidants

Broths / Water content: 92%
Nutritionally adds: a high amount of water; different broths contribute different nutritional benefits

Cabbage / Water content: 92%
Nutritionally adds: provides glucosinolates; which are antioxidants

Cantaloupe / Water content: 90%
Nutritionally adds: vitamin A

Cauliflower / Water content: 92%
Nutritionally adds: more than 15 different vitamins and minerals, including choline

Celery / Water content: 95%
Nutritionally adds: some fiber and lots of important nutrients

Grapefruit / Water content: 88%
Nutritionally adds: high in immune-boosting vitamin C

Lettuce / Water content: 96%
Nutritionally adds: 1 gram of fiber and provides 5% of your daily needs for folate

Oranges / Water content: 88%
Nutritionally adds: vitamin C and potassium

Peaches / Water content: 89%
Nutritionally adds: several important vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin A, vitamin C, B vitamins and potassium

Plain Yogurt / Water content: 88%
Nutritionally adds: several vitamins and minerals, such as calcium, phosphorus and potassium

Strawberries / Water content: 91%
Nutritionally adds: fiber, disease-fighting antioxidants and vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, folate and manganese

Tomatoes / Water content: 94%
Nutritionally adds: significant amount of vitamins and minerals, including immune-boosting vitamins A and C

Watermelon / Water content: 92% 
Nutritionally adds: fiber and several important nutrients, including vitamin C, vitamin A and magnesium

Zucchini / Water content: 94%
Nutritionally adds: several nutrients to your diet, specifically vitamin C

In conclusion, it’s important to consider factors such as your athletic status, environmental conditions, and individual needs. A simple way to monitor hydration levels is to track the color, scent and frequency of urine, as dark, strong-scented urine is a sign of dehydration. For athletes, it’s important to drink enough fluids to maintain body temperature, support digestion, and prevent heat exhaustion and decreased performance.

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