Hydration Series - WUT in Hydration

If you’ve read any of our other articles from our Hydration Series, you know there is a huge individual component of hydration needs and that means that there will also be multiple strategies for how to combat those. Some athletes and clients are able to have a larger loss of fluids and sodium while being able to maintain their performance level.

 

Before a person can work on their hydration strategy it is important that they know how to figure out their current sweat rate and level of hydration.  

From a starting point we as a staff her at Powell Performance can sit down and figure out the best way for you to rehydrate for specific training events, competitions and overall health.

 

It is to be noted that the notion and need to replace 100% of the fluids lost from sweat and the sodium calculated by the sweat rate is likely not as necessary as once thought. Some research has even shown that it could potentially be a negative choice.

 

The ability to monitor your hydration status with minimal equipment is a vital tool in an athlete and coach’s toolbox. Once this is known, and hydration can be quickly and easily calculated, it can be used to make changes and adjustments on the daily or as necessary for training.

 

The problem of course is the accuracy, without more advanced methods, such as testing blood samples, it is very hard to know the exact status of hydration.

 

The good news is, there are 3 things you can monitor together in the ‘real world’ to give you a good enough estimate of your hydration status:

  1. Frequent weigh ins for body weight.
  2. The color of urination.
  3. Thirst levels.

 

These 3 things can't individually show you your hydration status. Although a color chart and monitoring urine color can be helpful, there are plenty of pitfalls to using this as your only means for monitoring hydration status.

 

Originally developed by the researchers for the United States Army, at what is called USARIEM (U.S Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine) developed the WUT system. This is a measure that uses a scale of the three answers to determine if you are dehydrated or not.  

 

WUT System = Weight, Urine, Thirst System.

The system recommends you monitor body weight, urine color and thirst immediately upon waking as often as possible. Making sure you measure and check color as early in the day as possible will assure that the data is less convoluted and more accurate.

 

The answers to these will then give you a score that will allow you to figure out your next steps for hydration.

 

Collecting the data

The data you need to collect each morning is:

  1. Your body weight upon waking (no food, drink or urinating)
    1. Has your bodyweight fallen by >2% from your normal weight?
      1. +1 point if Yes.
      2. +0 point if No 
    2. Urine color. 
      1. +1 point if Dark.
      2. +0 point if Light
    3. Thirst level. Are you thirsty?
      1. +1 point is Yes.
      2. +0 point if No.

 

Scoring

Score = 0-1? 

Probably not dehydrated, drink to thirst, maintain normal sodium intake.

Score = 2?

Probably have some moderate dehydration. Consider making small increases to your sodium and fluid intake and potentially lessening or adjusting your training duration and intensity if you cannot fix the hydration status.

Score = 3? 

You’re dehydrated and need to take action. Increasing fluid and sodium intake and potentially adjusting or foregoing strenuous exercise to limit major sweat losses.

 

If done consistently and the WUT system is implemented daily, or as close to it as possible, most athletes will begin to have a better feel for their body and use the data to give themselves the best opportunity possible to perform at their best.

 

Often after a few weeks of utilizing this system and the data it provides an athlete will know their signals and body well enough to make adjustments without the information.

 

Want more help with a hydration strategy and need some guidance? We’d love to hear from you! Please CLICK HERE for a free consultation with our Powell Performance staff.

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