Wednesday, August 10, 2016

High Intensity Training and Dehydration

We partnered with Ruck Science to bring you a series of articles about athlete performance. Today's is about high intensity training and dehydration.

While high intensity training has its place in helping to train a rugby player for game day conditions, this form of training brings an additional risk for dehydration. High intensity training is exactly as it say. The body is under stress at high intensities of athletic training. This means an increase in perspiration, a warmer core body temperature, and a greater risk for total electrolyte loss. Although high intensity training has it’s purpose, for conditioning purposes,  let’s take a further look into why this form of training puts the rugby players body at an increased risk for dehydration, and ultimately poor athletic performance. It’s important to know how to re-hydrate during such intense training sessions.

High intensity training may be used to help prep players for game day. A rugby match is a lot like random interval workouts. A match involves running, rucking, mauling, and scrummaging. (1) The rugby player must have the athleticism to keep up with the demands of the game. High intensity training can help rugby players condition their bodies to endure this type of activity. With the higher demand on the cardiovascular system, fluid intake needs to be increased in order to compensate for what is being lost. Not only is the increased activity level impacting the amount of fluid a rugby player needs to be consuming during high intensity training, but the increase in body temperature plays a large part as well. Heat stress on the body alone can decrease VO2 max, and the combination of hot temperatures, paired with dehydration will significantly reduce cardiac output, including the amount of blood delivered to the overly stressed active muscles. With a decrease in blood delivery comes a decrease in performance.

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High intensity training is hard on the body both physically and mentally, and can strip the body of it’s fluid storage quicker than lower intensity sports. Add in hot temperatures, and dehydration can set in very quickly. If fluid intake does not match what is being lost the risk of dehydration is very high.

High intensity training sessions longer than one hour are going to require an additional amount of hydration as well as electrolyte replacement. During long training sessions, and rugby matches, rugby players need to be replacing lost electrolytes by consuming electrolyte infused water, or by adding a naturally based sports drink to their water bottle. Electrolyte loss starts to occur just 1 hour into high intensity exercise.Just like fluid replacement, electrolytes need to be replaced too. Electrolyte infused waters are a great way for Rugby players to replace what has been lost without consuming an excessive amount of sugar.

By staying properly hydrated throughout high intensity training, the body will be able to appropriately respond to the increased demand on the muscular, and cardiovascular systems, and will be able to sustain more intense training for longer periods of time. Withhold proper hydration, and you’re setting yourself up for organ malfunction, and total muscle fatigue. Prevent exhaustion by hydrating before training, and re-hydrating with 7-10 ounces of water every 10-20 minutes during periods of intense exercise, but not to exceed 4 cups in 1 hour. (2) Add in an electrolyte replacement drink, but choose wisely and opt for one that is low in sugar, and free from artificial ingredients. You will also want to look out for signs of dehydration such as dizziness, nausea, vomiting, muscle cramping, dry mouth, a sudden lack of perspiration, and an increased heart rate, and seek medical treatment if dehydration is suspected.

While dehydration can occur at a faster rate during high intensity training, preventing this from occurring is straightforward. Rugby players just need to stay mindful about hydrating before, after, and during high intensity activity, and the risk of dehydration will be much lower. A properly hydrated rugby player is going to play at a higher capacity than a player who is suffering fluid loss, and not re-hydrating.

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