Are you exercising to lose or regulate weight? To reach your target weight, it’s not all about the time you put in on the elliptical or at the track. There’s another important factor that shouldn’t be overlooked…hydration.

Although it sounds simple and obvious, the majority of the general active population fails to drink enough water to replenish the body, which itself is constructed of nearly two-thirds water!  So as our bodies excrete water through perspiration during exercise, it is very important that we actually follow the direct and repetitive reminder to “HYDRATE!”

Here are some tips on how to stay properly hydrated:

Avoid all caffeinated and high sugar drinks during training: These are just extra, unneeded calories.  Caffeine is a diuretic, or a drug that increases fluid loss through increasing frequency of urination and filtering electrolytes more frequently through perspiration.

Drink up: Consume between 17 to 20 fluid ounces of water two to three hours routinely before exercise, as well as seven to ten fluid ounces from 10 to 20 minutes immediately before your workout, and every 10 to 20 minutes during the workout itself.

Hold the sports drinks until after your workout: Depending on duration and intensity, sports drinks are best consumed after your workout.  Sports drinks are comprised of necessary electrolytes and carbohydrates, which help restore hydration levels while refueling the body with energy lost during perspiration and urination and are essential in assisting water in carrying out its functions.

Use the “urine test” to simply monitor hydration levels: If you’re adequately hydrated, your urine will generally be a light lemonade color.  If urine appears dark like apple juice, you are generally dehydrated.

Drink three cups of water for every pound lost: To adequately rehydrate your body after a workout, drink about three cups of water for every pound lost. 

To learn why hydration is so important, check out "Keep the water flowing! importance of Exercise and Hydration during exercise and weight loss"