The body cannot store water, so it is vital to constantly supply it with water to ensure proper function of body systems.

Contrary to popular belief, simply drinking water when you are thirsty is not always good advice when it comes to hydration. By the time the a person feels thirsty, it is usually a sign that thy body is already under hydrated.

How much water should the athlete drink? That depends on many factors including temperature, humidity, length of practice, and the unique needs of the individual. The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends that athletes drink 17-20 ounces of water within a two hour window before practice begins and 4-8 ounces of water every 20 minutes during practice.

Although the ACSM does recognize that athletes that practice in high humidity for more than 90 minute sessions do regain lost nutrients by consuming sports drinks, they emphasize the fact that pure water is essential for an athletes to be at their best.

When training, it is just as vital for gymnasts to care for themselves outside of the gym as it is for them to work hard in the gym. This season in Character Training, we have been stressing the importance of getting proper nutrition and staying hydrated.

Dr. Josh Eldridge is a member of the USA Gymnastics National Health Care Referral Network. He shares things that gymnasts should remember in regard to nutrition and hydration at

Remember a Pre-Workout Snack
Gymnasts need readily available energy in their bodies so their muscles and brains can be ready to give 100%. The pre-workout snack is your last chance to give your body the resources it needs to succeed and be fueled for the entire practice.

Eat Enough Good Food
Gymnasts need to be eating the following meals everyday:
Mid-Morning Snack
Pre-Workout Snack
During Workout Snack

Drink Enough Fluid During Practice
Studies say that drinking water helps optimize the distribution of nutrients to the muscles and makes sure the energy processes are working properly inside each and every cell. This also offers the brain hydration so it can function at its highest level.

Drink Enough Water Throughout The Day
In order to maximize recovery, it is critical that athletes get plenty of water throughout the day. Water is the optimal fluid to drink any time athletes are not in the gym.

The American Council on Exercise has suggested the following basic guidelines for drinking water before, during, and after exercise:

  • Drink 17 to 20 ounces of water 2 to 3 hours before you start exercising
  • Drink 8 ounces of water 20 to 30 minutes before you start exercising or during your warm-up
  • Drink 7 to 10 ounces of water every 10 to 20 minutes during exercise
  • Drink 8 ounces of water no more than 30 minutes after you exercise