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Heat and Hydration


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Heat and Hydration

 I have not asked this question in a few years. Summer is here and you can imagine the conditions in South Florida. It is hot year round,  but Summer is special.

Last weekend I shot an 8 stage outlaw Action Steel match. It was physically easy without a lot of resetting. On Monday my body was shaking with chills etc.

It is time to revise my approach.

 My favorite range has no shade, unless you leave your squad and don’t contribute. No one would say anything, but I wouldn’t want to shoot with that kind of person.

 

My present hydration:

Day before, drink as much as feasible and add melon or grapefruit.

Day of match: cut back one cup of coffee from 3 to 2 or 4 to 3 on the 90 mile drive up.

In the car eat 2 bananas. Before the match dig into a bag of cut up melon.or cut up grapefruit.

A pint of water or Gatorade Zero per stage.

 

It still is not enough. I am dragging on the 2nd half of an event. It is turning into a physical and mental endurance challenge and not a shooting comp.

Suggestions and other options.?

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Sounds like you need shade, either an umbrella or a wide brimmed hat should work.  

 

High volumes of sugar can negatively effect hydration, all that fruit has a lot of sugar.  Not sure how big of a role this may be playing, but perhaps something to consider.


Look for something better than Gatorade, I like the nuun tablets.  They also make some with caffeine, so maybe you can reduce your coffee intake a little more. 

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Sugar is part of hydration by drawing water out of your colon. So you do need some sugar, just not typically the large amount they put in the drinks.

 

I am a huge fan of electrolyte tablets and have revived a dozen people with them at matches.

 

Caffeine may help your alertness and be part of your routine but it is a diuretic and is fighting against everything else you are doing by trying to pull water from your system.

 

Bring something with ice water in it to soak your hat and a cooling neck towel. This will go a long way towards not feeling blasted.

 

Use sunscreen.

 

Days like today where I'll be on the range for 9 hours I am drinking pedialyte, gatorade, coconut water, ice water and juice diluted with water. I like the mixing it up but I will drink 1.5 gallons of fluid in those 9 hours and it still might not be enough.

 

Finally, if you keep at it you'll eventually become more weather hardened. I see it all the time in people who work solely in an AC controlled environment while sitting. That doesn't prepare you at all for hours of standing in the sun and trying to use your brain and muscles.

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I’ve moved from Gatorade and Powerade to body armor. It seems to work better for me and tastes way better.  I stick to the lyte flavors. I’ll throw a bunch of it and some water in a cooler and mix throughout the day

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Roudyb has good suggestions.  I keep a small cooler full of water bottles and use Propel in them to help with electrolytes/hydration.  I have to drink a LOT!!  I turn 68 in September and can't handle the heat like I used to...  and it sucks.  

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It hit about 100 today when we finished. I drank 3 L water, .5 L G2 and 1.5L of Pedialyte. Didn't fade and my last stage of the day was my best. Big straw had when I am not shooting and an evaporation towel for the last 3 stages. 

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Liquid IV. If you have not used I would try it. Also potassium supplement of some sort. I use Zip Fizz. The Zipp Fizz does have caffeine in it so I would use that sparingly. I usually only drink one Zipp Fizz in the morning on the way into the range. It replaces coffee or energy drinks I normally drink in the morning I do not shoot. I minimize caffeine input as much as possible, as it is a diuretic. 

 

The best part about Liquid IV, and similar powders is it does not require you to drag fluid (in the form of Pedialyte or Gatorade) to the range for large matches where water is provided. Liquid IV comes in single serve packs which you dump into the water bottle and mix. Zipp Fizz is similar.  

 

I also monitor what I eat during any match. Any heavy food is out. Typically I eat a well rounded trail mix that does not contain chocolate. Jerky for protein. I never eat the lunch served at major matches. While bannans are a good source of potassium my body takes a lot of resources to digest them. At least it feels that way to me. 

 

Hydration is way more about electrolytes than it is about fluids. If you drink a ton of water without electrolytes your body actually sheds the minerals you need to stay hydrated. Not enough people discuss this point. I typically alternate an electrolyte drink with one plain water of the course of a match. Always fresh and clear minded by the end of the day. 

 

I actually did some digging when I came across this thread. Below is a link where the rated top Electrolyte powders. I want to given “Hydration” by Essential Elements a shot. It's number on the list in the link below one above Liquid IV.

 

https://smarter-reviews.com/lp/best-electrolyte-powders-hydration?tr=ZEWYYdp&gclid=Cj0KCQjw6ZOIBhDdARIsAMf8YyFbJd60hV6JaJA0-9zvxxUGK1Ul19WlBsDGoE-6sxBwffYIFuNy6PoaApEBEALw_wcB

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The diuretic effect that caffeine has is mild and generally less than the water that it's consumed with so you shouldn't need to worry about it dehydrating you. 

 

It's a bit off topic but I've been experimenting with taking some L-theanine with caffeine, usually coffee, as it blunts the negative effects of caffeine.  So far my experience has been positive so it's worth trying if you like coffee but don't want jitters when you're shooting.

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5 hours ago, Michael303 said:

has is mild

True. But if you are at the end of the spectrum where your physical well being is in real doubt because of dehydration, why do anything that negatively effects you?

 

Young, fit, athletic and weather hardened people are one thing. People less those things need to be more careful.

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I always drink plenty of water but got dehydrated at a match recently and ended up spending the night in the ER.  Now I pack plenty of Gatoraide and just ordered some electrolyte powder to mix with my water.  I'm getting too old not to take care of myself especially when the matches are averaging  over 100 degrees.

 

I  found some packets that I can keep in my shooting bag on Amazon.

 

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Pedialyte used to be my go to hangover cure/preventer.

 

Now in mostly drink water or use nuun tablets. I've gone away from too sweet of a drink as I didn't find that it worked all that well. As mentioned already, tablets or powders are nice if the range has water but I never count on that and tend to being 2 - 1.5 L insulated water bottles and a couple plastic ones that I can throw the tablets in and call it a day. 

 

Eat some light snacks throughout the day as well.

 

And remember, hydration doesn't start the day before a match but rather days or weeks before or a lifestyle of making sure you drink enough water. If you're slamming water the day before you're probably just peeing most of it out.

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My "Go To" for dealing with hot range days Pre/During/After is AdvoCare Rehydrate. I have been using that stuff for years and it works awesome for me. The day before I have three scoops in a 32 oz cup of water and drink it all. I prepare the same three scoop in 32 oz of water for the match and drink that during the day while on the range and also drink a gallon of water after that. Then in the evening I prepare another cycle of the same setup and drink that before I go to bed. This is a tremendous amount of liquid to put down in a single day and it makes me pee frequently, but that is the whole point. If I am not peeing frequently throughout the day, then I am absolutely dehydrated. I also get some ribbing from my squad mates as I lug my two drinking containers (40oz & 1 Gallon) from berm to berm during the match. But I could care less what people think of my hydration setup on the range. It works for me and I stick to it religiously.

 

https://www.advocare.com/store/product/a7512-advocare-rehydrate-canister?gclid=CjwKCAjwjJmIBhA4EiwAQdCbxhEbj7giC-V7L_dYCyteSM3XFpQX89-kC8r9SNoTFjooclHONOJEnhoCnaoQAvD_BwE

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Watching parts of the Olympics saw female distance runners wearing cooling vests before their races.

Essentially vests with ice inserts.

I've never seen those before. Seem to common with a bunch for sale on Amazon. Priced about $100. and another $30.00 for 2nd ice insert kit.

Anyone ever tried them out?

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Several years ago, on Staff Day for the SC State Championship, I hit Stage 7 and suddenly realized I did not need to be handling a firearm in my condition.  I had hit the dehydration wall.  Since then, its a bottle of water a stage, regardless!  Plus a few bottle of Gatorade Zero or other reduced sugar sports drink as the day goes on.  Its a strange feeling when your brain basically loses the ability to make intelligent decisions.

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 I use a cooling vest from The Cooling Store, they have a wide variety and they  really help.  I also keep two cooling towels ready to go as the day gets heated up.  Last week I bought a hat with a fan built in, I'm taking no chances with the heat this summer.

 

Edited by AzShooter
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I hadn’t given this much thought, I always figured a bottle or two of water would be fine. Thanks for the discussion. I went and ordered some ZippFizz and Nuun tablets, both with a little caffeine boost. I’ll replace the cup of coffee I drink in the road to the match with one of these. I think it will actually be a reduction in caffeine that way. Gotta start somewhere. 
 

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  • 4 months later...

I try to stick with water throughout the day and maybe 1x Gatorade. Depending on how hot and how long in the day I’ll mix a can of monster and water together in a 32oz Nalgene bottle. Worked surprisinglywell and it was only used for the later half of the day
 

a far as snacks…I tend to bring sandwiches to each throughout the day otherwise I’ll end up eating nothing but snacks for a whole day. Dark covered covered almonds from Walmart are dangerous but so good for an all day match 😁

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  • 1 month later...

Little late to the thread, but I just had a really good experience with liquid IV as a couple others have mentioned. In August, I was at ft Rucker, Alabama for school. Needless to say, it was hot hot. Throughout the days that there wasn’t much physically demanding events, water worked fine. But I did see a lot of people fall out of runs and rucks because they were not prepared on the day prior to the long runs or ruck marches, I would drink two Liquid IV packs. The day of the event, I put one in my camelbak. It worked well for me. I felt hydrated through the course of the events and never felt “weak” or “shaky”. The bit of sweetness was a nice booster too. I would feel confident that it would work in the conditions that you mentioned in addition to you already taking steps to stay on top of your health. 

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