Would you believe that your pee holds the key to unlock your potential? Believe it.
Because we are obsessed with hydration and peak performance, we’ve been working with athletes like Peter Sagan to measure their urine Specific Gravity (SG) to get an objective measurement of their hydration status.
As you know from our post Hydration is Power, being properly hydrated is critical if we want to feel and perform our best. It’s a known scientific fact that we can’t produce as much power if we are dehydrated. But what does it mean to be properly hydrated? And how can we know we are there?
You may hear people recommend, “drink to your thirst.” This is horrible advice. Thirst is a trailing indicator of hydration status—it’s not reliable at all. By the time we first feel thirsty, we’re already approximately 2% off optimal body water. This 2% translates to an 11% drop in max power in cyclists. So the name of the game is starting your workout hydrated, and doing whatever you can to stay hydrated during your workout.
These days, athletes like us have so much data at our disposal—speed, heart-rate, power output, and on and on and on. But up to now, there was no simple way for us to measure a critical piece of data related to performance—hydration. That’s why we are now making the Whizz Wand™, so you can easily measure your hydration status, learn about your body, and understand how much you need to drink before and during exercise to stay hydrated on any given day.
And again, why are we talking about your pee? So you can get an accurate measure of your hydration and perform at your peak.
Check It Yourself
The Whizz Wand™ is known in the medical world as a “Urinalysis Reagent Strip.” You can use one to check your Urine Specific Gravity (SG), which, again, shows your hydration status. By tracking how much (and what kind of) fluid you have consumed, and comparing it to your hydration status, you will begin to understand how your own body uses fluids, and how much you need to drink to stay hydrated.
These hydration checks need to happen when you wake up, before you start your workout, at the midpoint of your workout, and at the end of your workout. Come race day, you’ll know precisely how much to drink in order to stay on top of your hydration game.
The specific gravity of your urine measures how concentrated it is. When you are properly hydrated, your urine is less concentrated. When you are dehydrated, your urine is more concentrated.
Here’s a general correlation of SG data to hydration state:
- 1.008 to 1.015 is “hydrated”
- 1.020 is ~1% below optimal body water
- 1.025 is ~2% below optimal body water
The higher the SG reading, the more dehydrated you are.
You want to try to start your exercise session between 1.008 and 1.015 SG and stay as close to that as possible throughout the session. When you do, you will see improved performance, particularly in power output and decreased cardiac drift (“cardiac drift” is when your heart rate is stable or elevated, but power is down).
Changing your drinking habits throughout the day and during your training sessions will impact your total body water and overall hydration status. If you are consistently on the higher end of urine SG (>1.015), focus on drinking more during your training workouts and in the afternoons.
Whiz Wands™ can tell you more about your body than just hydration status. You can keep track of your recovery by monitoring any trace protein (“PRO”, the 4th regent panel from the top of the Whiz Wand™). There will be trace amounts of protein post-training, but in the morning, if there are still trace amounts showing up, it indicates you haven’t fully recovered from the previous day’s training; so you may want to back down your training and focus on an active recovery day.
Leukocytes (“LEU”, the 1st regent panel from the top of the Whiz Wand™) are another key indicator of what’s happening in the body. If there is a positive result for leukocytes (>15), it indicates you are on the verge of getting sick; so focus on resting and you can avoid or minimize illness.
What You Can Do
How can you use Whizz Wands™ to improve your performance?
- Pee on the Whizz Wand™ when you first wake up, and log your urine Specific Gravity (SG)
- Log how much and what you are drinking throughout the day and during your training session (see “Hydration is Power” for astarting point recommendations regarding how much to drink).
- Use the Whizz Wand™ to measure SG before you start your workout, mid-way through your workout, and at the end of your workout.
- Log the ambient temperature and your intensity level during your workout.
- Compare your SG for each workout in the three different points (before, mid-way, end). Note what changes you should make to start hydrated and/or remain hydrated for the duration of your effort at the given temperature and intensity level.Here are some examples:
- If you start your workout dehydrated (SG of >1.015), you should drink more prior to beginning your next workout.
- If you started out hydrated (SG of 1.015 or less), but were dehydrated (SG of >1.015) at the midway point, you need to drink more Osmo Active Hydration and start earlier in the workout (for workouts of consistent intensity and temperature).
- If you were dehydrated at the end of the workout, then you need to increase how much Osmo Active Hydration you consume during the second half of your workout.
Thanks for reading. We’d love to know if this post was useful to you. Drop us a line at TeamOsmo@OsmoNutrition.com with comments or suggestions.
Live long and perspire!