Manchester United dietician Trevor Lea, gave us his tips on drinking like a pro.
"Fluid intake is so important. It can be the easiest thing to get wrong, but it’s also one of the easiest things to correct. The fluid you lose through sweating essentially comes out of the blood. If you don’t replace that lost fluid, the blood turns thick and syrup-like.
"The problem with that is the heart has to try and pump this viscous blood around the body, but it does so at a slower rate and does not deliver the oxygen that we need. This can make you feel very lethargic and have heavy legs. It also isn’t able to wash out the waste products as it should do or carry the lactic acid away, which, when it builds up, can cause cramp.
"It’s difficult to put a figure on the number of litres you need on a daily basis, so you need to learn how to read the signs your body gives you. Those symptoms could include a dry mouth, thirst, headache, general tiredness and a low urine output. Taking fluids before and after you’ve trained and played matches will help to get your blood volume back up and also ensures it is the correct consistency. That helps delivery of new nutrients into your muscles so they recover.
"My advice to an amateur player is to ensure their fluid intake is at the optimum level. The weather, temperature and humidity within the atmosphere are very important.You also need to look at how much fluid you’ve lost through exercise sessions and make sure your body doesn’t get dehydrated."
source: http://www.manutd.com (Retrieved December 27, 2007)