EPISODE 9: The hidden science of hydration with Sports Scientist and Co-Founder of Precision Hydration, Andy Blow

*TRIGGER WARNING* – This episode does include a mention on attempted suicide at 44:38.

We all know that we need water to survive, but beyond the classic rule of thumb to drink 8 glasses a day, there’s a world of science behind hydration that most of us don’t realise affects everything we do. With experience in maximising performance from elite Formula 1 drivers like Mark Webber and Jenson Button, Precision Hydration’s Founder Andy Blow understands the power of proper hydration. 

This fact-packed episode of The Perfect Athlete sees myths debunked and popular hydration solutions challenged, from the early days of isotonic drinks such as Gatorade, to the potentially critical health risks that come from an often-underlooked scenario – overhydration.

One such man with 14 years of service across the SAS and Parachute Regiment, two Everest summits to his name, and now taking on the challenge of wrestling high performance racing cars around some of the UK’s fiercest tracks, is Jay Morton.

This episode of The Perfect Athlete delves into how Jay’s approach to intelligence consists of more than just IQ, but also EQ and AQ, and the unique tests he’s faced scaling some of the toughest terrain in the world.

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IN THIS EPISODE OF THE PERFECT ATHLETE:

  • The dangers of overhydration and hypernatremia
  • Safely making weight for sports with weigh-ins
  • When and for whom isotonic drinks work best
  • F1’s focus on hydration
  • The myths surrounding urine colour and water consumption
  • Calculating how much you should drink
  • Mauro Prosperi’s 9-day survival in the Sahara Desert
  • Relationship between sleep and hydration

EPISODE HIGHLIGHTS

“A big part of the problem I had was actually not getting dehydrated, but it was over drinking and drinking too much in races, sometimes in and around training sessions too. I actually gave myself a condition called hyponatremia.” – 4:52 – Andy Blow

“Really extreme dehydration to make weight can bring about a lot of its own problems, and certainly having that relatively narrow window to then rapidly rehydrate. It means that there is always a chance of going too far back the other way.” – 9:04 – Andy Blow

“The amount of electrolyte that you lose in your sweat, the amount of sodium that you lose in your sweat specifically, is very variable between people. It tends to be fairly fixed for you as an individual, but it’s highly variable.” – 12:21 – Andy Blow

“Isotonic sports drinks have got a bad reputation, and I think deservedly so in the way they’ve been marketed because they’re marketed at people as a healthier drink, whereas actually they’re no healthier than a can of Coke.” – 16:02 – Andy Blow

“With F1, the focus on hydration is predominantly maintenance of a good level of hydration through practice, qualifying, and all the rest of it. It’s getting in the car each time optimally hydrated, which means obviously not dehydrated, but not over-hydrated either. Because you don’t need a full bladder sat on the grid!” – 21:44 – Andy Blow

“That thing where people think their pee has got to be clear all the time is not always true. It is true that if your pee is really dark, then you probably are heading for dehydration. But just because your pee is clear, that doesn’t mean you’re well hydrated, it just means your body’s dumping fluid.” – 23:31 – Andy Blow

“One of the hardest questions we get asked all the time is ‘How much should I drink?’ Because it is a bit like the question of how long is a piece of string? It’s so individual.” – 32:25 – Andy Blow

“When it comes to professional athletes, most of the time they’re not looking for quick fixes, because if they did then they wouldn’t be where they are.” – 42:32 – Chris Billam-Smith

“Dehydration affects people who have high sweat rates, and I think it also creeps up on other people who are less experienced or more novice, when they fail to realize the early signs of it.” – 47:34 – Andy Blow

“There’s definitely studies that show the effect of dehydration on cognition and reaction speed. They’ve done studies in drivers – not racing drivers but drivers on the road – that have shown your reactions slow down.” – 49:44 – Andy Blow

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