How to stay hydrated when lifting

Hydration 101: Optimal Daily Water Intake for Weightlifters

Understanding the Importance of Hydration in Weightlifting

Hydration is a critical component of any fitness regimen, especially for weightlifters. Consuming the right amount of water is essential not only for general health but also for maximizing performance and recovery during weight training sessions. Water plays a significant role in maintaining blood volume, regulating body temperature, and allowing muscle contractions to occur efficiently.

Calculating Your Baseline Water Needs

Before adding the demands of weightlifting, it's important to understand your basic daily water needs. A general guideline is to consume at least 2 litres of water per day for the average adult. However, individual water requirements can vary based on factors like age, sex, body weight, and environmental conditions. An easy way to calculate your baseline needs is to drink between 20-30ml of water per kg of body weight. For instance, a 100kg individual should aim for 2-3 litres of water daily before additional exercise considerations.

The Weightlifter's Increased Water Requirements

As a weightlifter, your water needs will be higher than the general population due to increased sweat losses, muscle repair needs, and the metabolic waste produced during intense training sessions. The goal is to stay adequately hydrated before, during, and after workouts to support performance and recovery.

Pre-Workout Hydration

Start your hydration efforts well before you hit the weights. Aim to consume a minimum of 500ml-750ml of water approximately 1-2 hours before exercise. This allows your body ample time to absorb the water and maintain optimal fluid balance.

Hydration During Training

During your weightlifting sessions, plan to drink about 200-300ml of water every 10-20 minutes. This will help replace fluids lost through sweating and can help prevent dehydration-related drops in performance. If your workouts last longer than an hour, or if you're training in a hot environment, you may need to increase this amount.

Post-Workout Hydration

After finishing your workout, it's vital to replenish the fluids you've lost. Drink 500ml  of water for every kg lost due to sweating during your session. If you don’t weigh yourself, assess the colour of your urine—the lighter it is, the better hydrated you are.

Crossfit athlete with Murgs steel water bottle

Electrolytes and Hydration

While water is crucial, electrolytes such as sodium, potassium, magnesium, and calcium also play an essential role in hydration for weightlifters. These minerals help maintain fluid balance, muscle contractions, and nerve signaling. You may lose electrolytes through sweat during intense weightlifting, so consider incorporating an electrolyte replacement drink or adding a pinch of salt to your water if you're engaging in long-duration or high-intensity workouts.

Recognizing Dehydration

Understanding the signs of dehydration can help you maintain proper hydration levels. Common symptoms include thirst, fatigue, dizziness, dark urine, and decreased performance. If you're experiencing these symptoms, it's important to increase your fluid intake and possibly reduce the intensity of your workout until you're adequately hydrated.


Hydration should be a cornerstone of every weightlifter’s regimen. By tailoring your water intake to meet the increased demands of your training, you’ll be better equipped to reach your performance and recovery goals. Remember to adjust your intake based on your workouts' intensity and duration, environmental factors, and your body's signals. Proper hydration is a simple yet effective strategy in elevating your weightlifting endeavours to new heights.