How to Hydrate for World Domination


We all know lots of things about the importance of water and proper hydration, especially when it comes to exercising:

  • “Your body is made up of, like, 90% water.”
  • “Dehydration can, like, totally affect your jammer stats.”
  • “If you’re thirsty, bro, you’re already dehydrated, man.”

When’s the last time you saw someone at your practice without a water bottle? I’ve seen skaters pull more liquids, electrolytes, and other assorted beverages out of their bags than skate gear. Gatorade gummies. CHECK. Powerade Zero. CHECK. Full water bottle. CHECK. Protein shaker with powder. CHECK. Mystical Tibetan Kombucha made with Birch Water and liquidized Watermelon Rind. CHECK.

There are A LOT (Like. A. Lot.) of reasons that staying hydrated is critical to your success as a human person — not just a badass derby robot. But this article isn’t really about that. If you want to read up on water’s myriad roles in your body and its overall importance to all of your functions you can go HERE.

So…how much {water} should I drink?

Thirst is a common method for determining whether you are drinking enough (or if you should strive to drink more), but you typically don’t feel thirsty until you’ve already lost 1-2% of your bodyweight in water. And losses of anywhere from ½ – 3% lead to increased strain on your heart (approximately ½% water loss), decreased aerobic endurance (approximately 1% water loss), and decreased muscular endurance (approximately 3% water loss).

For this reason, it can be helpful to calculate how much you should be drinking on a normal day. Bring on the math!

Calculate your Basal Metabolic Rate

For every 100kcal of BMR, drink 80-110mL of water.

For example, my BMR is 1,554kcal per day, therefore I require a daily intake of 1.2 – 1.7L of water per day.

1 L = 4 cups = 32oz

For every kilogram of bodyweight, drink 30-40mL of water.

For example, I weigh 166lbs. To go from lbs to kg, divide by 2.2.

I weigh 75.45kg, therefore I require a daily intake of 2.2 – 3L of water per day

The numbers can differ pretty drastically from one method of calculation to the next, but this gives me a pretty clear “safe” range of water ingestion. I definitely shouldn’t ingest less than 1.2L per day and probably don’t want to ingest much more than 3L of water per day.

Most of the research suggests that the average person should take in 3L of water per day. (Less if you’re smaller, more if it’s warm out or you’re exercising.) 1L can be gained from food sources, especially veggies and fruits. That means we can all aim for drinking 2L per day! (That’s 2⅔  of those ubiquitous clear water cups with the green straws in them.)


Great! But, I’m one of those people that exercises…

Now that you know how much water to drink, hopefully you’re thinking about how easy it will be stay hydrated on a normal day. But you play roller derby and you’re not normal.

Because most days in the life of a derby skater (whether you’re a referee or player or some combination of the two) include some exercise, it’s hard to tell you exactly what to do. I don’t know your routine, so I can’t make specific recommendations for EVERY SINGLE DAY. However, we all participate in bout day. So I give you an easy to follow guide for hydrating {for world domination} on bout day.


  • Wake up and begin your campaign to hydrate as though it is a typical day.

The discussion about what to eat, whether coffee is okay, how to carb-load, etc. are all beyond the scope of this article. As far as hydration is concerned, be typical; just like every other morning.

  • On your way to the bout (or right before you leave), eat a lightly salted snack to increase your electrolyte reserves.

I eat pretzels. I know someone that swears by Cheez-its. And I’ve also had a teammate that HAD to eat sunflower seeds before she played. Just pick something that you like, that won’t make you sick, and has some good salt content. This is a way to shore up your electrolyte reserves because you’re about to drink a lot.


  • Consume 500mL (2 cups) of fluid above and beyond your “typical intake” for this point in the day.
  • This just needs to be water. It ensures you start your bout well-hydrated with normal electrolyte levels. (Hence the salty snack earlier.)

If you want to eat your Gatorade gummies because that’s your routine, go for it. It’s not necessary to do before the bout begins, but mental preparation and sticking to routines is important too!

DURING THE BOUT (Fluid & Electrolyte Replacement)

  • Consume 250mL (1 cup) of sports beverage every 15 minutes.

The sports drink should have 6-8% carbohydrates in it. Gatorade, Powerade (both with and without sugar), and Propel all meet this requirement. So does coconut water. If none of those options appeal to you, you can find your own, using this simple cue: You’re looking for something that has 13-15g of carbohydrate per 8oz. 8oz. is a normal serving size for these types of beverages, so just check the label to see if it falls in the 6-8% (13-15g) range.

This amount is dependent on body size and temperature, just like your regular intake. If you’re smaller, you’ll need less. If it’s hot, you’ll need more. If you’re one of two jammers in your rotation, you’ll need more.

  • Add 15g of protein for added umph.

Adding protein can enhance muscle performance, improve recovery, and reduce muscle soreness. (Berardi & Andrews, 208) You can add protein powder directly to your sports drink (UMM!), eat two eggs, or 2 Tbsps of peanut butter. Really anything that has around 15g of protein. REMEMBER! You want it to be easy to digest. There are a lot of interesting liquid options out there too. My best advice is to experiment and see what works for you. It’s important to note that adding protein can slow down digestion, so this isn’t a great option for everyone. File it under the heading of: Practice, Try First at.


  • Consume 500mL-1L (2-4 cups) of a beverage with 10-12% carbohydrates and electrolytes.

This comes out to about 0.8g of carbohydrate per kg of bodyweight in the amount of water listed above. For me, this would be 60g of carbohydrates in 600mL of water. You can calculate this by multiplying your weight in kg by 0.8g to get the amount of carbs (75kg x 0.8g = 60g) and divide that number by 0.1mL to determine how much water to use (60g/0.1mL = 600mL). If I want to buy a product, I’m looking for something that has about 23g of carbohydrates per 8oz. serving size.

(I haven’t actually tried this product yet, but I’ve heard good things about PURE, a sports supplementation company in Australia. I can’t find any nutrition information on their website, but it looks promising. If anyone tries it out, let me know!)

  • Add 15g of protein for added umph.

If you weren’t able to consume protein during the bout, now is a great time to get it in. There are a lot of drinks that have BOTH protein and carbs in recovery amounts. I’ve seen a lot of success with skaters drinking BOOST or BOOST High Protein after bouts and then washing it down with coconut water or regular water with 1 tsp of salt added.


This is how I manage my hydration and recovery on bout day. {But who are we kidding. I don’t go to the after party!}
Peppermint Tea
Begin drinking first 24oz cup of the day
Eat some pretzels on the drive to help set-up the bout
While wrapping up bout set-up and gearing up, drink 2 cups of water
I have a line marked on my water bottle, so I know exactly how much that is.
Drink 1 ½ big boxes of coconut water during 1st half (sipping during jams)
During second half of bout, do the same
This amounts to 3 16oz boxes of coconut water per game
Eat a banana (approx. 27g carbohydrates)
Drink 3 cups of water with 1 tsp salt added
*** At the after party, drink 1 glass of water for every alcoholic beverage consumed.

World Domination is not necessary ALL. THE. TIME.

The recommendations above are great for high levels of fluid loss and exercise intensity. If you have a hard, 1 hour HIIT routine planned, you can hydrate this way. If you’re going on a walk with your Aunt Millie, not so much. Moderate intensity bouts of exercise don’t require the same degree of aggressive hydration and recovery. If you’re not sweating a ton or otherwise losing fluid, normal daily intake will suffice (or a little bit more).

If you suffer from underhydration, make it a point to start meeting these guidelines for fluid intake. Your body runs on water (and carbs, electrolytes, protein) especially when you’re kicking ass and taking names.

Here’s to world domination (or at least bout day badassery) through proper hydration!

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About IronOctopusFitness

Online athletic training and nutrition coach, full-time mom, okay skater, and connoisseur of all things tea, chocolate, and roller derby. I'll help you unleash your inner athlete by building a strong, capable body that can withstand whatever life throws at you.

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