In 2004, a group of experts studied how much water, salt, and other minerals we need in our diet to stay healthy. They found that for the average person who doesn't do a lot of physical activity, can usually get enough water from drinking and eating, so you don't have to worry too much about being thirsty all the time.
However, for people who work out a lot, it's essential to pay attention to your body's needs. Thirst alone isn't always a good indicator of how much water you need. So, athletes and active individuals should make sure to drink water before, during, and after their activities to stay properly hydrated. If you're sweating a lot, you should replace the water and salt you're losing by drinking fluids with some salt in them.
Sodium is the main electrolyte lost through sweat. Which means replacing Sodium is necessary for proper recovery. An average bodybuilding workout can deplete over 2g of Sodium. Heavy sweating significantly increases your dietary salt needs!
So how much should you supplement to maximize recovery?
According to a study from 2004, the recommended daily intake of certain minerals, such as sodium, chloride, and potassium, can vary depending on your level of physical activity. Here are the specific recommendations:
Sodium and Chloride (Salt): For the average person who doesn't engage in vigorous physical activity, it's advisable to limit salt intake to lower the risk of high blood pressure. The study suggests keeping your daily salt intake in check, which is usually included in many processed foods. The recommended daily intake is approximately 1.5 grams of sodium and 2.3 grams of chloride.
Potassium: Potassium is crucial for maintaining healthy blood pressure and overall health. The recommended daily intake of potassium is about 4.7 grams. You can obtain potassium from various sources, including fruits and vegetables.
If you lose a liter of fluid in the form of sweat during an hour workout (depending on sweat content ratio) you could be losing upwards of about 920mg of sodium. So it would be essential to replenish this amount as quickly as possible. Sweat Potassium concentration is generally much lower than Sodium . . . Meaning you will see about 320mg of Potassium lost out of the 1 Liter of sweat.
Bottom line . . . Keep water handy during training sessions. Load up on electrolytes during and after the training session for optimal recovery.
Stanhewicz AE, Kenney WL. Determinants of water and sodium intake and output. Nutr Rev. 2015 Sep;73 Suppl 2:73-82. doi: 10.1093/nutrit/nuv033. PMID: 26290293.