This post isn’t so much about Krav Maga so much as how I survive classes without turning into a withered raisin. First, let me give you a little back story. Throughout my life I have been plagued with occasional migraines. These are the real deal — sensitivity to light, ripping headache that feels like my head’s going to explode, waves of nausea, dizzyness…. No fun. Had them since I was a kid and they usually showed themselves after hard physical exertion in the heat. Since I hydrated well prior to working out I had to attribute these to something else. Was it the heat or some kind of migraine triggered by exertion? I tried to solve the mystery but never really came up with a solid reason.
When I started training back in June I continued my water saturation routines, making sure to hydrate obscenely prior, during, and after the class. I would routinely drink 1.5 liters of water (or more) prior to working out, another .5 liter during the workout, then about 1 – 1.5 liters more afterwards. When I first started I was nervous that every class would end with me staggering out to the car in agony, drenched in sweat, blood gushing from my ears from the migraine pressure, and seeking a cool dark room to wait it out with an ice pack dripping from my forehead.
Nothing of the sort happened.
It dawned on me that perhaps, all these years — all my LIFE — I had been hydrating but just not enough! Could it have been this simple all along? Was I that much of an idiot? Could I really have been that dense?!
Turns out, yes to all of the above.
I had been hydrating in the past, sure, but just not enough. When I started Krav Maga, I wanted to be sure that the intense workout wouldn’t turn me to dust so I went what I thought was overboard with the water, going way beyond what my body could reasonably want. I mean, really, does anyone need 3 liters of water? I guess now that I’ve had time to really work through this I would have to say that at least I need it.
I take it very seriously now. I never skimp and I never cram. I always start hydrating a full 2 hours before class. That way the water has enough time to get into my body. Otherwise I’d get stomach cramps and pee it away before I even started. I had one of those 750 ml Nalgene water bottles that I fill up and carry around with me. My goal is to drink steadily, but again not too quickly, for those 2 hours and conquer 2 bottles — or even 3, if possible. I know I’m getting close when — pardon my crudeness — I am peeing every 15 – 20 mins. and I’m “running” completely colorless (or lemonade tint) vs. apple juice tint. If I were to work out with apple juice colored pee I can guarantee you I would not be having a great day afterwards. Following the workout I make sure to drink another 750 ml or more and add in juice and/or recovery drinks if I feel like it. I also try to drink as much as I can during the workout, though we don’t usually have too many opportunities.
Your mileage may vary, of course. I am heavyset and sweat easily so I can certainly see how my fluid intake needs are more severe than, say, a runway super-model. Physiologically I think my body is just more water needy than others. I also should drink more during the day anyhow — impending workout or not. You might need far less than me or not have to have a hydration ritual along the lines of what I described. If so, great, but I personally would still suggest that you think about keeping hydration on your mind and make an effort to up your intake if possible. Even if you aren’t feeling any ill effects your body could probably benefit nonetheless, whether you’re going to be working out or not.