Water is the most important factor in sports nutrition. It makes up about 60 percent of body weight and is involved in almost every bodily process. Your body cannot make or store water, so you must replace what you eliminate (i.e., urine, sweat). Everyone should drink at least two quarts (eight cups) of water each day, and athletes need more. Drink plenty of fluids before, during and after sports events to stay hydrated and avoid overheating. When you work out or compete, especially in hot weather, try to closely match the amount of fluid you drink with the amount you lose to sweat.
Cool water is the best fluid to keep you hydrated during workouts or events lasting an hour or less. Sports drinks (i.e., 6-10 percent carbohydrates) are useful for longer events. Most of these types of drinks should be diluted approximately 50 percent with water. Drink even if you are not thirsty. Thirst is not a reliable way to tell if you need water. You won't start feeling thirsty until you have already lost about 2 percent of body weight - enough to hurt performance. And if you stop drinking water once your thirst is satisfied, you will get only about half the amount you need.
Some tips for staying hydrated: