Eating healthy, I have so much more energy.
– Felipe Gustavo
skate hydration & optimal moistness.
So in his interview up on the Nine Club Chris Haslam told a story about how he nearly died from not drinking enough water during a heavy session at The Berrics. A few days after the sesh he ended up in hospital having his liver pumped and narrowly avoiding a coma!
In this article we're going to cover how not to die, why liquid fluid is essential for your skating, and some guidelines to make sure you’re moistening yourself in the right way.
why water is tha bowse.
Haslam nearly died for pretty much one reason - without water your body shuts down. This is especially during intense sessions where your water needs go up, which we’ll get to later.
Inside the skin perimeter surrounding our bodies there's about 55-60% water - it lubricates our joints and tissues, enhances shock absorption in our joints when we're skating, transports nutrients and removes waste, speeds up chemical reactions, regulates temperature, supplies us with certain minerals, and basically makes everything work! Simply put, water is tha bowse.
To keep all these systems functioning we need a constant supply of it, and although you do absorb a bit of water through your skin, holding your arm out in the rain isn't the best way to hydrate. We get nearly all the fluid our body needs by inserting it into our face holes, in the form of drinks or food.
Haslam entered pretty hardcore into the realms of dehydration, but before you get to this level of dehydration your skating will have been getting progressively worse and just a small amount of dehydration can have an effect on the systems that power your sessions (Chris said he was struggling to get any tricks during the session that almost killed him).
For example at 1% dehydration there’s a reduction in aerobic performance, at 2% and above you can start feeling symptoms like headaches, fatigue, dizziness, nausea, at 3% our muscular endurance goes down, 4% you'll notice a drop in strength & precision, and 5% shit really starts to hit the fan and we risk heat exhaustion, cramp, fatigue, reduced mental capacity, followed by heat stroke and even coma at 6%, and then 10-20% you’re just straight up dead. According to the docs Chris should have been in a coma for a week, so he was at least at that 6% mark
Obviously then if we want to maintain performance when we're out skating and reduce recovery times we want to stay as moist and hydrated as we need.
But before you go downing 6 litres of water, know that staying hydrated is a two part equation.
First you've got the obvious - fluid in vs fluid out:
what’s coming in through food and drink vs what’s going out through shit, piss and all the other wonderful bodily fluids.
But the maybe lesser known half of the equation is related to how many electrolytes are dissolved in the fluid in your body.
Electrolytes conduct electricity and are essential for your cells to function, but they also attract water - sucking it to wherever it is; influencing how much water you absorb over just pissing it out. Although there are a few different electroyltes the main ones that affect skating and performance are sodium and potassium. Think of sodium as coming from normal table salt and potassium coming a tiny bit from table salt but mainly from food.
So staying hydrated is basically the balance between how much water you’ve got going in and out and how much salt you’ve got in old mate Mr Bod. A common fluid imbalance can come about from consuming too little water and too much salt. But the complete opposite can also happen during a long sweaty session where you might end up drinking too much water and not enough salt.
I’ve personally had a similar but much lighter experience skating at MACBA in the middle of summer. I was trying a trick for hours down the stairs to the point of exhaustion and dizziness, and although I got the trick and it was arguably worth it, I ended up feeling like absolute shit for the rest of the day.
I know it’s unlikely you’re actually going to go to the doctor, but if you're feeling real bad and you suspect its related to dehydration because you’re getting the symptoms mentioned above, you should consider hitting one up as shit can really hit the fan with extreme hydration.
basic hydration guidelines.
Before we get to skate hydration let's make sure we've got the foundations on point.
Everyone’s exact fluid needs are obviously different and depend on many different like activity level, environment and genetics, so obviously don’t take this as medical advice, but a basic starting point for the average adult, try inserting about 3L (100oz) a day into your face hole:
2L of water in drinks
1L from foods high in water - like fruits and veggies like cucumbers and carrots.
This is just what you should drink on a normal day as a baseline, not including what you drink when you’re skating or doing other exercise, which we'll get to next. Regardless of when you're drinking, keep in mind that we can only absorb about 1.5L per hour anyway, so there's no need to down an insane amount.
When it comes to electrolyte balance, applying the knowledge from the other nutrition articles/videos by trying to eat a wide variety of whole foods and minimally processed foods, whilst not going crazy with excess salt, should just naturally keep your electrolytes in check.
A classic and simple method to check how hydrated you are is matching your piss against a chart. If you’re pissing brown like Haslam, then you’ve got problems. Click the image below to download The Daily Push Piss Chart for you to stick on your toilet wall.
hydration during normal sessions.
How should you stay hydrated when you’re out skating?! Well on top of the baseline above, when it comes down to staying hydrated during a session, your body can need much more. The sweatiest bastard recorded lost something like 4L per hour training for the Olympics!
Usually, hydration doesn't have to be complicated and for a normal session up to about 2 hours long, you don’t have to get tech at all. Think:
0.5-1L each hour during your session
0.5-1L in the hour after your session
Certain situations might increase your skate hydration and electrolyte needs, for example:
Hot & dry conditions
Sweating a lot
It's important to mention though that there's a slight lag between thirst and dehydration; it usually kicks in after about 1-2% dehydration. This isn’t a prob if you’re just chilling at home, but it might be if you’re out skating as your performance can be affected already at 1-2%, along with making it easier to hit those more serious realms of dehydration.
So try to make an effort to just regularly sip throughout your session even if you’re not thirsty.
hydration during intense sessions.
For sessions longer than 2 hours, or real intense sessions longer than 1 hour, especially if you sweat a lot, you might want to get a bit more tech. For these kinds of sessions, think:
0.25-0.5L 30-60mins before
The extra carbs will aid hydration and keep your energy levels up, along with lowering your stress/inflammatory response to your session and aiding recovery. protein will do similar things to the carbs although they don't have much of a role in hydration. Check the mid-session skate nutrition page for more info.
It's these kinds of longer, more intense sessions where sports drinks can actually be useful (like the DIY skate energy drink!) as they come with the ideal amount of carbs and electrolytes mixed in. If you make your own drink be conscious of how concentrated it is - less than 10% is ideal, higher concentration drinks can be harder to digest and might actually reduce your energy levels or cause stomach probs when you’re out skating.
We're all different and respond differently to different nutrition and hydration hacks, so it might be best to not mix up your nutrition and hydration too much around important sessions or competitions. Try different things during normal sessions so you can be sure it doesn't affect you negatively.
alcohol & caffeine.
Some final comments on how alcohol and caffeine affect hydration. First, alcohol increases your water needs but it also messes with your ability to absorb water. This means that no matter how much water you drink, you’re always going to be losing mor water than you put in; leading to dehydration. This is why you can’t stop pissing after a couple of beers and one of the main reasons we get hangovers!
Many people think caffeine dehydrates us, but this isn't always the case. Your ability to handle caffeine is somewhat genetic but for most people, unless you drink an insane amount, it won't dehydrate you. We're talking about 4-8 expressos for a 90kg (200lb) person (about 3-6mg of caffeine per kg bodyweight). For those used to caffeine, drinks like coffee can actually contribute to your daily water needs and even enhance performance.