Dispelling myths regarding hydration

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Gracie Barra Academy posted tips on how to keep properly hydrated during Jiu-Jitsu training on their website. Here’s what they had to say!

“As a Jiu-Jitsu student you may have had the experience of withering dehydration which can cause weakness, disorientation, nausea. Yet oftentimes even after that kind of firsthand knowledge of the discomfort and danger of dehydration it may still be hard to understand how to properly address the problem.

So here are some tips and insights that will help you separate the facts from the fiction regarding how to stay fully hydrated and safe while you’re learning and practicing your Gracie Barra Jiu-Jitsu.
Many times dehydration happens because of three common misconceptions. Now let’s examine those and find out the truth about healthy hydration.

Myth #1

Water Breaks are for Wimps

Once upon a time it was considered macho to go without water. Old-school coaches often deprived their teams of water during practice, for example, and hard-core drill instructors denied water to their cadets. But dehydration should never be taken lightly because in severe cases it can be lethal. That’s right. Many well-trained soldiers and disciplined athletes have died suddenly as the result of accidental dehydration.

Taking water breaks as needed is part of a solid training regimen, and those who skip out on drinking water are not macho or brave, they’re just uninformed or downright irresponsible and reckless. Be smart. Train harder to fight easier. But never forget that good overall training includes drinking plenty of water in order to remain in tip-top condition. It also means keeping an eye on your training partners or BJJ students to make sure that they are doing the same.

Myth #2

Dehydration Begins with Thirst

An even more prevalent misunderstanding – even among those who fully understand and respect the need for drinking plenty of clean, pure water to stay hydrated – is that thirst precedes dehydration. But that’s a myth that can give you a false sense of security. If you wait until you’re thirsty to begin drinking water you’re going to be too late.

Drinking water when you’re thirsty is the right thing to do, of course, because that is how you’ll counteract the dehydration and regain your physiological equilibrium. Drinking water restores you to a balanced, hydrated state. But health care professionals and successful Gracie Barra students know that once you are thirsty you are already in a state of dehydration. So consider thirst a warning sign that tells you that your body is depleted and that you are headed into the red zone in terms of dehydration. The onset of thirst, in other words, is the body’s way of tapping out before a bad situation gets even worse. Drink water before you train, while you train, and after training so that you never actually feel thirsty. That’s the best way to ensure you stay fully hydrated.

Myth #3

All Fluids Hydrate the Body

The third big persistent myth and misconception has to do with the idea that dehydration is cured by drinking any kind of liquid. That’s only true, however, when you drink the right kinds of fluids that deliver fresh water and vital electrolytes.

Beverages like alcohol and those that contain certain artificial ingredients or caffeine, for instance, may actually increase risk of dehydration because the chemicals in them dry out the cells in the body. Don’t be fooled by pumped-up labels or the feelings you get from a jolt of caffeine or a sugar rush. Those kinds of drinks may be okay in moderation, but they are never an adequate replacement for your daily intake of water and they are no remedy for dehydration.

To maintain a healthy level of hydration drink plenty of good clean water. To get an appropriate amount of the chemical electrolytes or special chemical salts that the body must have to perform, eat a balanced, nutritious diet with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.

When in doubt you can also consult one of the many informative Gracie Barra books or talk to your Gracie Barra instructors to come up with an appropriate diet and hydration plan. Once you have that aspect of your training under control you can practice your heart out at Gracie Barra without worrying about your body giving out due to dehydration.”


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