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The Best Hydration Drinks for Athletes & Additional Tips to Stay Hydrated

hydration tips for athletes
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Consuming the right hydration drinks for athletes can make or break their success in competition or training. With all the hydration drinks on the market, it can become difficult to understand which are actually beneficial for hydration and which are just marketing.

In this article, I will breakdown a bit about the process of hydration for athletes and which hydration drinks for athletes are the best!

Hydration for Athletes – Why is It Important?

what is proper hydration for athletes

No matter what athletic function you are participating in, it is vital that you ensure yourself of proper hydration by drinking the right amount of water before, during, and after your training sessions.

Whether you are a serious athlete, or just exercising for recreational purposes, water is important to the ability of your body to function.

Beginning your training or competition with an adequate hydration level is just one aspect of the importance of hydration, as maintaining that hydration level during exercise itself is just as necessary!

There are many different benefits of proper hydration for athletes, all which result in an increased ability to exercise and perform.

Water is your body’s natural cooling agent; necessary for exercise or physical activity.

There are many benefits of staying well hydrated for athletes, so keep reading below to find out some of the ones I think are most important!

Hydrating Yourself Before Competition Will Allow You to Focus on the Competition More Freely!

Overall, there are lots of benefits of staying hydrated while competing in athletic events.

One of the most important aspects when you consume healthy drinks for staying hydrated before competition is that when you prepare for training or competition by properly hydrating, you will not need to focus on your hydration levels as much while you are in competition.

Especially compare to an athlete who is dehydrated to begin the match or game, you will be able to focus much more on the competition at hand.

Regardless, our body will shut down when it becomes dehydrated. so, it’s better to start off with a proper level of hydration!

Hydrating Before Competition Allows You to Stabilize Hydration Levels More Efficiently

Physiologic mechanisms are compromised when you exercise while being hypo-hydrated, and the extent of this dysfunction is related to the extent of thermal stress that is experienced by the athlete.

Hydrating several hours before exercise or competition provides you with the sufficient time for urine output to normalize before starting your training, or competition.

Drinking 2 liters of water directly before exercise will not help you!

Hydration should be a consistent activity throughout your day, so that your body has the proper amount of time to balance hydration levels throughout itself and excrete what isn’t necessary.

One of my favorite strategies for becoming hydrated before a big basketball game is to drink the best hydration drinks throughout the day until about 3 hours before game time.

At this point, I will start to drink green tea, yerba mate tea, or oolong tea.

Drinking tea is an excellent way to maintain your hydration levels, and the caffeine helps to normalize the amount of fluids in your body as well.

For me, this strategy works great!

Helping to Carry Nutrients Throughout the Body

The importance of hydration stretches to the carrying of nutrients and oxygen to cells, as these functions will dramatically slow down when dehydrated.

Hydration is responsible for maintaining the health and integrity of all the cells in the body.

Without water, you will die! (Literally)

As I said before, water is the body’s natural cooling agent.

To regulate your body temperature through sweating, you need to be hydrated!

If not, your body will overheat much faster, causing excess fatigue sooner.

Being hydrated helps to remove waste, including lactic acid and other toxins.

Protein, BCAAs, and several other supplements are excellent for helping you recover from training and have a “fresh” body, but they all pale in comparison to what water can do for you.

Properly hydrating from your previous workout is the absolute best way to recover and remove build-up of waste products in the body.

There are a lot of effective ways to rehydrate after a long training session, but the best way to manage dehydration is to stay hydrated at all times.

Water aids in blood circulation, further improving the movement of nutrients and necessary functions of the body.

Water is responsible for necessary lubrication of joints in the body as well!

You would be surprised how much of an effect staying well hydrated with extra water can have on tendinitis or other joint issues!

Water provides a natural lubrication and cushion for your joints, allowing movements to be performed much more pain free.

Water also helps to cushion the vital organs of the body, in a similar fashion to this.

Athletes need lots of energy to increase their performance, and water helps convert food to necessary energy for training and physical exercise!

How Much Fluids is Ideal for Athletes?

Considering the fact that everyone is different, there are no exact rules for how much water an athlete should drink while exercising.

There are certain factors that you should consider while thinking of how much water is required including your sweat rate, the humidity of the environment, your heat rate, how long you have been exercising, and how strenuously you are exercising.

According to the American Council on Exercise, the following guidelines were suggested for drinking water before, during, and after training:

  • Drink 17-20 ounces of water, 2 to 3 hours before you commence your workout.
  • Drink 7-10 ounces of water every 10-20 minutes, during training or exercise.
  • Take 8 ounces of water 20 to 30 minutes before you commence your exercise, or during your warm-up.
  • Drink 8 ounces of water within 30 minutes of your workout being completed.

Athletes need to measure the quantity of fluid they lost during their workout to get a better measurement of how much water they should drink. (16-24 ounces of water for every pound of body weight that was lost).

This can be done by simply weighing yourself before, and after training.  This is a generally good habit to get in to, and will help with developing self-awareness of hydration levels overall.

Hydration is not something to mess around with, and the importance of hydration necessitates it to be understood at all times while exercising.

Related Reading: What to Do After a Workout?

What is the Effect of Caffeine on Your Hydration Level?

Caffeine in general can have a negative impact on your hydration levels, since it speeds up your metabolism and increases the temperature of your body.  However, coffee and tea may have less of an effect on hydration levels than generally thought.

A 2014 study on the level of hydration of coffee drinkers should no variable change in overall hydration after switching from 3-6 cups of coffee per day, to water.

When exercise is factored in, these results could certainly change more.  Be cautious of hydration levels when you know that you are drinking excessive amounts of caffeine, but don’t become too nervous about coffee and hydration that you miss all the amazing benefits of drinking coffee!

Along with this, it has long been noted that tea has effects equal to water consumption, along with the many other benefits of drinking tea!

Remember, any caffeine ingestion can impact hydration.

Be conscious of this, but don’t be afraid to consume caffeine before training since there are many benefits to be had from tea and Bulletproof Coffee before training!  Don’t mistake the importance of hydration for being something that only includes drinking water!

What Are the Best Hydration Drinks for Athletes?

the best hydration drinks for athletes

While training, it is important to know the best ways to ensure that you have an adequate amount of fluids in your system. If you want to remain hydrated, you need to best drinks for hydration.

Although I hope this doesn’t really need to be explained, alcohol will not serve as a good way to hydrate. There are a lot of great drinks for hydration out there, and vodka or beer do not count!


Drinking water is essential for our health, and it is the best hydration drink overall.

Most men and women should drink two liters of water a day, or more. With the amount of water we lose through urine, exhaled air, and intestinal contents, we get rid of an average of about 2.5 liters per day from our bodies. If you are an athlete who is sweating a lot, you are losing even more. TO replace that loss of water, the overall best hydration drink is water.

Some people buy bottled water, but it is much cheaper and more convenient to drink it straight from the tap. Assuming you live in an area where tap water is clean and drinkable, drinking tap water is an excellent idea for many reasons.

If not, that’s what the best faucet water filter listed below is for.

Instead of spending money on bottled water, you can save by drinking tap water.

In Poland, water supplied by the waterworks is safe to drink, as it meets all Polish standards. It happens, however, that its quality is not satisfactory – it can be mechanically contaminated, too hard or excessively chlorinated. During my time in Poland, I wasn’t a fan of the tap water, and it gave me an upset stomach.

That’s why I invested in a faucet water purifier, and it made a huge difference.

Furthermore, by buying bottled water, we contribute to the production of environmentally harmful plastic waste. You can always have water from your own tap in a glass or reusable bottle.

The more often you drink tap water instead of bottled water, the more of a beneficial impact you are making on the environment.

Furthermore, tap water contains minerals that are very important for the body’s functioning.

Contrary to common opinion – minerals do not occur only in mineral water. Their optimal amount can also be found in tap water.

If you are considering to drink tap water as a main hydration source for yourself, a faucet water purifier cam increase the amount of tap water you are consistently drinking because you will have unlimited clean drinking water.

Even if you feel that your water is fine for drinking, you’ll probably be surprised by how much better you feel when you drink tap water through a sink faucet purifier.

There are tons of options for the best sink faucet water purifier. You could install a system that costs thousands of dollars, or you could buy a simple sink faucet purifier for $50 or less.

You also need to consider how difficult it will be to install your purifier. If you want to have a complex filter, you might also need to hire someone to install it. Contrarily, some options are as easy as screwing them onto your current faucet head.

Assuming you are interested in purchasing a budget-friendly faucet water filter, I believe the best option is the PUR FM-3700 Advanced Faucet Water Filter. The PUR FM-3700 Advanced Faucet Water Filter is certified to remove 99% of lead from your water, and reduce over 70 other contaminants! This sink water purifier uses both an activated carbon filter and ion exchange to reduce contaminants. Along with that, it also contains a patented MineralClear core which provides a better taste!

If you’re going to purchase a faucet water purifier, I suggest the PUR FM-3700 Advanced Faucet Water Filter!

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Sport Drinks

Sports drinks that contain carbohydrates, (not above 14 grams per 8 fluid oz.) and electrolytes such as potassium and sodium, have proven to improve voluntary hydration and prevent dehydration better than water alone.

In my personal opinion, though, these should be used with caution. Gatorade and PowerAde are filled with artificial ingredients and loads of sugar. If not sugar alone, they are also filled with artificial sugar which is even worse!

the best drinks for athletes for hydration

Birch Tree Water

For natural hydration; aloe vera juice, coconut water, tea, and birch tree water are excellent choices!

All four of these are natural sources of hydration, with the additional electrolytes and nutrients you need for training! Normally, I will drink coconut water and birch tree water the night before games, and the morning before.

If you don’t know anything about birch tree water, it has similar effects as the more well-known in Western culture coconut water, with less sugar!

My wife is from Kazakhstan, and she is who introduced me to this drink first.  I find the taste to be sweet like a maple syrup flavor almost, and tremendously effective.

Although there have not been any major studies done on its effect, it is well document as being the best drink for hydration in Eastern European and Scandinavian countries.

Luckily, you can easily buy Birch Tree Water online, if you can’t find it in your store at home! Just one bottle of birch tree water per day can have incredible effects on your overall levels of hydration, believe me!

Coconut Water

One of the most interesting features of coconut water is its refreshing ability; as it has an incredible hydration ability that makes it a very good drink for all athletes.

When used properly, coconut water can be an effective replacement for sugary and artificial sports drinks.

Similarly to aloe vera juice, coconut water is a natural hydration drink that you don’t want to miss out on!

The electrolyte level of coconut water has proven to be excellent for replenishing nutrients lost through sweat. It has prompted research on the use of coconut water for short-term intravenous purposes, and a specific report was made of the successful use of coconut water as a short-term intravenous hydration fluid.

You can also try the OLEO CBD drink mix which contains powdered coconut water as well as other beneficial ingredients.

Coconut water reduces stress, in and out of training. Based on the results of a study that was conducted on fructose-fed hypertensive rats to investigate if tender coconut water mitigates oxidative stress, it was suggested that coconut water has the ability to reverse and also prevent high blood pressure that was induced by a diet that is high in fructose.

This can be achieved probably through the inhibition of lipid peroxidation, improved insulin sensitivity, and the up-regulation of antioxidant status.

Together, your physical and mental stress will become naturally lower, allowing you to feel more relaxed on a daily basis!

Results from a study on the effects of coconut water on diabetic rats revealed that coconut water was able to reduce their blood sugar level and oxidative stress in. Coconut water can literally increase your ability to burn fat, as it stables necessary hormones in your body to fuel the burning of actual fat!

Aloe Vera Juice

If you walk through any grocery store in America, especially grocery stores which claim to carry more natural products (such as Whole Foods), you will find many types of aloe vera juice for sale. Aloe vera juice is useful for athletes in many ways including the ability to improve hydration, skin health, and digestive system health.

One of the great aspects of drinking aloe vera juice is that it naturally contains vitamins and micronutrients that you will not receive through sports drinks or water alone.

Aloe Vera is certainly better than soda or sugary sports drinks, and it is just as effective for hydration as water! Obviously, water is not bad for you to drink, but adding in aloe vera juice to your diet has additional benefits that will improve your hydration levels more completely.

Along with having additional vitamins and minerals, aloe vera is also a sweet plant that does not contain substantial amounts of sugar.

Combined with an overall healthy diet, aloe vera juice can help you reduce inflammation in your muscles, joints, ligaments and the rest of your body; allowing you to live a more pain-free life.

One last aspect of aloe vera juice which makes it such an enticing drink is that it can help tremendously help regulate your digestive system.

The natural content of aloe vera has been traditionally used for individuals with digestive issues, and it can make this system of your body work much more free and regular.

Although aloe vera can seem expensive in some stores, you can greatly reduce the amount of money you spend on aloe vera juice per month by ordering from a juice wholesaler!

Aloe vera juice is a natural remedy for many issues in your body, and is an excellent choice of drink to turn to when you are thirsty!

Cold-Pressed Juice

Cold-pressed juice such as watermelon juice is effective in relieving muscle pain and keeping you hydrated. For example, watermelon is rich in amino acids and L-Citrulline which helps in reducing post-training muscle pain or soreness. The high water content in watermelon also helps in the excretion of excess sodium and water.

Other cold-pressed juices boost the energy levels of athletes enabling them to perform at their best. For example, capuacu juice is rich in flavonoids, and polyphenols. It is an ideal post-workout juice for athletes.

Another example is beetroot juice. Beetroot juice contains nitrate, which helps in producing more nitric oxide in the blood. Due to that, beetroot juice enhances blood flow and leads to a greater supply of oxygen in the muscles.

There are many other beneficial cold-pressed juices as well. However, you are going to need the best juicer you can buy if you want to get the most out of your cold-pressed juices. There are a lot of juicers on the market, but only a cold-pressed masticating juicer will give you the benefits you want. Cheap juicers destroy nutrients from fruits and vegetables when they are processed.

So, do some research, find a quality juicer you can trust, and get juicing to improve your hydration levels!

See Also: Benefits of Juicing Once a Day

CBD Water

If you are interested in trying an even more innovative hydration drink, CBD water is an excellent option!

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a non-psychoactive extract of the cannabis plant, and nanotechnology has allowed companies to produce CBD water.

CBD water, such as the one produced by CBD Living, is an excellent drink for hydration in numerous different ways.

Feel free to check out my CBD Living review to read more about cannabidiol itself, and this awesome product!

Concluding Thoughts – Hydration Tips for Athletes

the best tips for hydration for athletes

When you engage in any competition or go for workouts in a severely dehydrated state, it will affect your performance negatively.

There is no doubt about it! Dehydration negatively influences several aspects of exercise and decreases your performance.

Having a clear understanding of dehydration includes understanding the symptoms, signs, and early management of dehydration will stop any unnecessary injury or illness to an athlete from dehydration.

Even though water is the primary agent of hydration, sports drinks, tea, coffee, and different types of natural water can be incorporated before, during, and after training to maintain fluid balance in the body.

If you want to get healthy and stay healthy, focus on your hydration!


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Adam Kemp
Hello! My name is Adam Kemp. I am a professional basketball player and an ISSA Certified Personal Trainer. In 2014 I graduated from Marist College with a B.A. in Communications, and for the last seven years, I have played professional basketball in Europe. I am also an ISSA Certified Personal Trainer, and I am currently completing my Masters of Science in Nutrition Education at American University. The health and fitness tips you can find throughout the articles I have written include information I have learned throughout my basketball career, academic studies, and my own personal research. If you would like to learn more about my life, please take a moment to follow me on Instagram and Twitter.

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