The high intensity of exercise can create large sweat losses. If you are very thirsty in the game, or lose more than 2kg body weight in a game, too much fluid has been lost.
This severely impairs performance by approximately 10-20%. You should aim to start exercise well hydrated by drinking water with meals and snacks and sipping on water bottles. Aim to pass copious amounts of lemonade coloured urine and to replace fluids as they are lost during exercise. Good fluid choices through the day include water, tea, trim milk and one glass of fruit juice per day.
Thirst is not a good indicator of fluid needs during rugby. For you to be at your peak, you should ensure you are aware of, and observe, the following hydration guidelines:
- Drink 200-500ml during warm-up
- Drink 120-150ml during game breaks
- Drink 200-500ml during cool-down
- After game drink another 1L per hour for 8 hours
Use sports drink in hard sessions that last more than an hour and in games. Poor fluid choices that damage performance are alcohol, soft drinks and energy drinks.