Cooper River Bridge Run

cooper river bridge run

Hydration and Nutrition

Use the following information as a guide for proper hydration and nutrition before, during and after your workout.

Hydration Game Plan

Proper Hydration: Ingesting enough fluid to perform at your optimal level

Dehydration: The result of sweating during activity and Not ingesting enough and/or replacing sufficient fluids

**If you're thirsty, you're already dehydrated**

Signs & Symptoms of Dehydration

  • Headache
  • Irritability
  • Nausea
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Cramps
  • Decreased Performance

Decreased performance can lead to losing/injury = NOT GOOD!

Cramping: The result of muscle fatigue, dehydration, and salt loss

Electrolytes: "salts:" potassium, calcium, sodium (salt your food more and drink sports drinks)

Water (H2O) vs. Sports Drinks — Drink Both:
Water: good hydrator, but not good thirst quencher
Sports Drink: good hydrator AND thirst quencher
                    *flavor keeps you drinking
                    *electrolytes replenish those lost in sweat
                    *carbohydrate (CHO) helps maintain optimal blood sugar
                        level for energy

What NOT to Drink:
Tea, sodas, juice, energy drinks, anything with caffeine and high in simple sugar

What TO Drink on Game Day:
Water and/or electrolyte sports drink
* Before activity: 20 oz. (two to three hours before) and then 10 oz. (10 to 15 minutes before the event)
* During activity: every time you come off the field; 30 - 40 oz./hour of play
* After activity: at least 20 oz./pound lost

Follow these guidelines throughout the day and ideally the day before — make good choices. Put yourself on a proper hydration schedule and drink even when you don't feel thirsty.

Nutrition Game Plan

It does not matter how hard you train or practice; it does not matter how often you run or how many hours you spend in the weight room; if you are not eating properly you will never reach your potential!

**Nutrition is half your battle as an athlete**

How many calories per day do I need?
Males need 42-50 kcal/kg/day
Females need 38-40 kcal/kg/day

For example, a 220 lb. male athlete needs 4200 kcal/day:
220/2.2 = 100 kg (2.2 lbs = 1 kg)
100 kg x 42 kcal = 4200 kcal/day
Plug your weight into this formula and you will be able to determine your caloric needs to maintain your current weight.

What should I eat?
A well-rounded diet of protein, carbohydrates and fat

Protein: 1.5-3g/kg of body weight
A 100kg athlete needs 300g minimum for growth and recovery, which is 1200kcal from protein (1g = 4kcal)

Quality Proteins:

  • Egg Whites
  • Lean Beef
  • Chicken Breast
  • Tofu
  • Turkey Breast/Burger
  • Tuna
  • Whey Protein Powder

Carbohydrates (CHO): 4-8g/kg body weight
a 100kg athlete needs 600g, which is 2400kcal from CHO (1g = 4kcal)

Quality Carbohydrates:

  • Whole Grains
  • Starchy Vegetables
  • Bread & Pasta
  • Fibrous Vegetables
  • Oatmeal
  • Fruits*

*Northern hemisphere fruits: cantaloupe, apples, watermelon, grapes, oranges, strawberries

Fats: less than 80g/day (18% of total caloric intake), which is 630kcal from fats (1g = 9kcal)

Quality Fats

  • Canola Oil
  • Olive Oil
  • Fish Oils (Omega-3, Omega-6)
  • Avocado

*Not all fat is bad, but you do want to avoid too much saturated fat.  These are typically found in fast food/fried items, so make good choices when you are out.

What should I eat before and after activity?
You do not want food to sit in your stomach while practicing or competing, but you do want to be properly fueled.  Ideally, you need to eat 1-4 hours pre-event.  This will ensure adequate glycogen stores for optimal performance.


  • 1 hour or less prior to event:
    • Fresh fruit (low acid)
    • Vegetable juice
    • Pretzels
    • Energy gel
  • 2-3 hours prior to event:
    • Fresh fruit
    • Bagels, bread
    • Vegetable juice
    • Low-fat yogurt
  • 3-4 hours prior to event
    • Pasta with plain grilled chicken
    • Baked potato with salsa
    • Cereal with low-fat milk
    • Toast/bread with peanut butter, lean meat, or low-fat cheese

Foods to Avoid:
Anything with caffeine, i.e., sweet tea, coffee, cokes, energy drinks. These can cause nausea, muscle tremor/shakes, and headaches. Caffeine is also a diuretic (stimulates urine production), so it speeds up dehydration.

Any high-fat foods, i.e., fast food, doughnuts, candy, chips — these are difficult to digest and will stay in the stomach during competition.

Refueling after intense activity is critical for recovery as well as improving the body's ability to train consistently.  You have a 1-2 hour "window of opportunity" following a high intensity workout for your body to store more muscle sugars (glycogen) and protein than usual.  If you wait longer than 2 hours, it will result in 50% less glycogen storage.

Combining protein and CHO will optimize glycogen storage.  It also provides amino acids to rebuild damaged muscle tissue.  Use a 4:1 ratio of CHO:protein.  Any more than that hinders replenishment and slows rehydration.

Refuel with: protein bars, whole wheat bagel with peanut butter, chocolate milk, Accelerade® or add 1.5 Tbsp protein powder to 20 oz. Gatorade®.

The choices you make determine your success as an athlete and the success of your team.

MUSC Sports Medicine Team

Michael Barr, PT, DPT, MSR
Sports Medicine Coordinator

Lindsey Clarke, MS, ATC/L

Stephanie Davey, MEd, ATC

Curtis Quattlebaum, ATC

Sarah Voges, RN BSN, ATC

Bobby Weisenberger, ATC


For more information

Contact MUSC Sports Medicine at 843-266-1540

Visit our Web site


© Medical University of South Carolina | 171 Ashley Avenue, Charleston, SC 29425