Sweating is a normal part of any workout that you do right, but if you sweat too much, you can cause your body to become dehydrated. That’s why it’s so important that you drink water and hydrate before, during, and after your workout. The question is: HOW MUCH water?

Before Your Workout

Drinking water before the workout is a bit tricky. Drink too much too close to your workout, and you’ll have a belly-ful of liquid sloshing around as you run, jump, and train. Don’t drink enough, and you’ll start your workout already slightly dehydrated.

A good rule of thumb is to drink at least two (big) cups of water 1 to 2 hours before working out. This will “fill up the tank”, and will help you start off fully hydrated.

Note: If you are a large person who sweats a lot, you should drink MORE water–3 cups at least. Consider adding another cup or so 45 minutes before working out.

The most important thing is to keep your water intake light. That way, you won’t have a full stomach when you work out.

During Your Workout

If you drink a lot of water during the workout, you can end up with a stitch in your side. You want to limit your drink intake, particularly during high intensity workouts.

For a high intensity workout like lifting weights, CrossFit, HIIT training, sprint training, spinning, limit yourself to 2 to 4 ounces over the course of an hour.

For a low intensity workout like walking, hiking, steady state cycling, or Yoga/Pilates, you can increase your liquid intake to 4 to 6 ounces.

Remember, the larger you are and the more you sweat, the more water you need to drink!

After Your Workout

This is when it’s vital to drink A LOT of water. If the weather is hot or you sweat a lot, you will have lost a lot of fluids during your workout. You need to replenish not only your fluids, but also the electrolytes you have lost.

To be absolutely precise with your drink intake, weigh yourself before your workout and again after you are done. The weight difference will be the amount of water you lost during your workout. Drink that much to replenish lost fluids.

However, if you don’t want to go to that extreme, just try to drink anywhere from 12 to 20 ounces of water after your workout. If the workout is very high intensity and causes you to sweat a lot, drink up to 32 ounces.

Note: You don’t have to drink all the water right away. Keep drinking for up to an hour after you finish your workout.

What should you drink? Skip the Gatorade and sports drinks, and stay far away from anything carbonated, caffeinated, or high in sugar. There is only one thing you need to drink to stay hydrated: good old-fashioned H2O!