PLEASE DRINK AND DIVE!…A freedivers guide to staying hydrated

By Nathan Lucas
In January 3, 2016
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Freediving is not just a sport it’s a lifestyle, and this lifestyle begins with good hydration. I always recommend drinking lots of water the day before, the day of, and after freediving. Not only to replenish the water that will be lost, but to aid with ear and sinus equalization. Hydration is key for long sessions on the water, and equalizing while descending head first at 1 meter per second, much faster than SCUBA (SCUBA ascends and descends at 1 foot per second and usually feet first). I try to drink a gallon of water or more per day (even more when exercising)….But why so much you ask?

As a freedivers mammalian dive reflex kicks in, the heart rate slows and the blood in the body shifts (via vasoconstriction) from the arms and legs, into the chest and head, where the diver needs it most. This shift of blood tricks the kidneys in thinking there’s too much fluid on board, so it makes the body pee (ever noticed why you get the urge to pee while diving or while in a pool?) In addition to this fluid loss, we are basically doing interval training as we dive, with cycles of work and rest that causes us to sweat (Yes we do sweat in the water, we just don’t feel it). This combination of fluid loss is the reason freedivers are rarely found without water. We tend to be hydration addicts too!

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Tips for staying hydrated:

Water Proximity: Always have water near you. If it’s there you’ll drink it. Especially when working at your computer, driving in your car, or watching TV. Keeping water close by will allow you to hydrate with out thinking about it. You’ll rarely catch me with out a water flask in my car, at work, or watching movies on a rainy day. If you go to the gym, always carry water with you, and drink between sets.

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Drink before eating or snacking: Not only will this suppress your appetite and prevent you from over eating (most mid day hunger is a result of dehydration) but will instill good drinking habits.

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I went with the system you see above: WATTS at home 4 stage R/O water system (link attached to the right).

Make it taste good: Ever been to a day spa and wonder why the water tastes so great? They put things in it. Try sliced strawberries and mint… or thinly sliced cucumbers and lemons. This works for all my students who say: “…but i hate the taste of water.” Tired of buying bottled water so that it tastes good? Go for a Reverse Osmosis water system (R/O water)!  They are easy to install and you can buy them at COSTCO or amazon for 150-225 bucks. The initial cost might seem like a lot, but you’ll save big in the long run with fresh tasting clean water in every glass. Buy an R/O water system on Amazon

Make it a habit: It’s hard to keep with any task unless you make it part of your routine. Try this: Drink a glass when you first wake up, or right after you brush your teeth in the morning, before each meal/ snack and again after you brush your teeth at night. These glasses will add up. Creating habits allows your mind to be on auto pilot so you don’t forget. Also, bring a water flask with you everywhere you go as part of your routine, this will make hydration more accessible. Some people love using timers. Smart phones make daily reminders easy. Set multiple alarms through out the day, and you’ll never forget your new hydration goal. All these tips will help form a solid hydration habit.

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Photo via: Shawn Schreiner/Flickr

Eat your water: Many fruits, vegetables and leafy greens are loaded with water. Incorporating more of these in your diet will not only improve your hydration, but your overall health.

Get a designated water bottle– not only is this a great way to measure your water intake, but purchasing something you like, will make you more inclined to use it. I recommend the Hydroflask. Simply… it’s the best on the market. It is the only patented thermos that has created a perfect vacuum (even better than a Yeti). The result: Your water or beverage will remain hot (6 hours near the same temp you put in it) or cold (24hours) like none other. (Personally, purchasing a Hydroflask is what really improved my hydration. It makes my water taste better by keeping it cool or hot (not luke warm), it’s easy to keep track of how much I drink, and they are easy to take with me through out my day…BONUS: they’re durable and look good too!)

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The best water flask on the market!

*True story- 2 summers ago, I was camping in Zion, Utah, and the temp. had spiked to 108deg. and I just received a Hydroflask as a gift. Not knowing about this product, I filled it half with ice and half with water, expecting it to melt. After 6 hours of hiking in the sun, (my flask attached to the outside of my pack) I still had most of the ice left! I ended up having to chew my ice to drink the rest of my water. Being curious, I tried this again the next day, but left it at camp (in the sun) to see how long the ice would last in the heat. To my surprise, 24 hours later, it still had ice in it! It’s an amazing product and a must have for any athlete.  Shop here for HydroFlasks on Amazon

Freediving is not just a sport it’s a lifestyle. The first step of that lifestyle is hydration. It is the key to good athletic performance, equalization, and overall longevity for your day of diving. I hope these tips will assist you while you’re diving deep.

Bonus!… incase freediving isn’t a good enough reason to “throw back a glass,” below are some additional benefits of good hydration:

Weight loss- (Especially drinking cold water. Your body has to warm the water up speeding up your metabolism)

Fresher breath– Bad breath is often caused by a dry mouth. Good hydration helps keep your throat, mouth, and lips moist… this can also result in cavity prevention.

Cleaner colon and aids with digestion– (along with fiber) allows food to break down and pass more easily

Keeps skin supple– documented studies have shown it can decrease fine wrinkles by hydrating skin cells.

Clearer complexion– Can make your skin less oily.

Assists with joint lubrication and overall body pains

Decreases your chance of kidney stones

Cardiovascular health– dehydration lowers your blood volume making it more difficult for you heart to pump. Good hydration allows your heart to work easily and more efficiently.

Keeps you cooler: Good hydration can allow you to better regulate your body temperature

Thins out the phlegm in you sinus– more hydration equals less mucus, equals easier equalization!

I hope this article was helpful. Please feel free share this and leave your comments below…cheers!

-Nathan Lucas

About the author:

FII site headshot

Nathan Lucas: Founder of Apnea Addicts, and SoCal based FII instructor

Nathan Lucas is a fireman, a SoCal based freediving instructor with FII and the founder of Apneaaddicts.com (a website for all aspects of tankless diving). His intrigue for the ocean began as a kid, learning to surf in the chilly waters of Southern California and grew to a love for the ocean when he started diving beneath the waves. After taking his first course through FII, freediving quickly went from his hobby to a lifestyle. He hopes to use his experience to promote freediving in a safe, yet entertaining way for all.

 

Sources for the Bonus: web md, Onemedical.com, Journal of American Medicine, lifehacker.com

Founder of Apnea Addicts.

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