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H2-OMG It’s HOT!

Summer in South Texas generally fluctuates between hot, hotter, and three degrees short of hell. That means that for those of us who enjoy training outdoors, hydration is not just necessary—it’s critical.

As avid cyclists and runners, we enjoy hitting the many trails that run throughout San Antonio, with two of our favorites being the Mission Trails and the Leon Creek Greenway. With a triathlon just a week away, and our next century ride in October, we can’t let the heat keep us from hitting our training goals. But we also have to make sure that we are training safely in order to avoid dehydration—or worse. Preparation is key and it’s not just about drinking water when you’re thirsty. You have to make sure you are getting plenty of water throughout the day EVERY day to keep your body performing at its best.

Both Wes and I carry around large Hydro Flask water bottles and refill them several times daily with good ‘ol H2O. And, on the days when we know we have to beat the heat, we turn to options that not only quench our thirst, but that also replace electrolytes that we lose through intense sweating. Below are a few of our favorite alternatives to basic water for staying on top of our hydration game when the temperatures soar.

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Zico Coconut Water

This coconut water contains five electrolytes, and nearly as much potassium as a small banana (900 mg to be exact). Plus it comes in some delicious flavors. The watermelon raspberry is my favorite for a little extra refreshment—but it also has a little extra sugar, so I limit it to after a really long ride or run.

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Gatorade Endurance Formula Thirst Quencher Powder

I recently received a packet of this as part of a promotion, and I am hooked. As the name suggests, it’s ideal for endurance training with 90 calories, 22g of carbs, and plenty of sodium and potassium to keep you going. Plus, it doesn’t mess with my stomach the way some sugary sports drinks do. Just mix it in your water bottle and hit the road.

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Pickle Juice

Recommended by my chiropractor, pickle juice contains both sodium and vinegar that replace electrolytes AND help with muscle cramping during long training sessions. It’s kind of an acquired taste, but the benefits are worth it.

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Watermelon

We have been obsessed with watermelon this summer. It’s cool, refreshing, and made up of 92% water—hence the name. It shouldn’t be an alternative to your liquids in the heat, but it makes a nice pre or post workout snack with hydrating benefits.

Finally, remember that if you aren’t used to outdoor training in extreme heat, use caution—and common sense. Try to limit your activity to early morning or evening hours, wear light, breathable clothing, and bring along your water or sports drink, to sip before, during, and after your workout. According to many studies, a good rule of thumb is 6 to 8oz of water for every 15 to 20 minutes of exercise.

If you experience dizziness, a headache, muscle cramps, or heavy sweating get out of the heat immediately and cool off as quickly as possible. These can be signs of heat exhaustion, which can lead to heat stroke—a serious condition! And, if the temperatures are in the 90s or above, stick to the air-conditioned gym. Remember, you are exercising to improve your body—not to put it in jeopardy.

----bonny