Hydrate And/Or Die
- Drink lots of water -- don't wait until you're thirsty. Typically those telling you to not trust your thirst are the same people who want you to learn to listen to your body. Imagine, these experts can't even listen to themselves. In point of fact, you can die from drinking too much water while exercising. It won't happen unless you are in a multi-hour session, but if you train yourself to drink as much as possible, and then run a five hour marathon, you are putting yourself at risk. There is zero scientific basis anywhere for the claim that you should drink eight glasses of water per day. In fact, the latest studies show that drinking when you are thirsty while you exercise is just as good for your performance as any formula for number of ounces per hour.
- Don't exercise too intensely -- you burn the most fat at 70% of your max heart rate. The fact is, you will burn more fat by going harder. Your body will continue to burn fat longer after you stop. And not only that, you will get stronger, faster, or better at what you are doing by stressing your body occasionally. Not all the time. But if you don't spend 10-15% of your workout time per week breathing hard, you are not making good use of your exercise time. And do you really think there is much difference between casually pedalling the recumbent bike while reading a book and sitting on the couch watching TV?
- Don't forget to warm up. Ok, warming up before going hard is good. But doing all your favorite stretches is not warming up. In fact, stretching without first warming up can easily injure you. Warm up by doing some light aerobic exercise, throw in a couple short harder efforts, make sure you are starting to breathe hard. Then you can do your stretches (and your hard workout).
- Don't eat during exercise unless you are going longer than two hours -- you don't need the calories. Yes you do. If you don't fuel your workout, you will lose more than you gain from it. Less than an hour you're probably ok. But anything longer and your body will start breaking down those muscles you are trying to build. And definitely eat before your workout. Don't do a long or hard workout in the morning before breakfast and expect it to be a positive experience.
Unless, of course, the expert is me.