7 Smart Ways to Rehydrate After an Intense Workout

rehydrate after an intense workout
Mountain biker drinking water while taking a short break.

When trying to rehydrate after a workout, knowing the best way to get your fluids back can be difficult. After all, you’ve just sweated out all the water in your body, and when you don’t replace it with more of the right kind of liquid, you’ll feel dehydrated and weak. It doesn’t have to be that way!

It’s important to rehydrate after an intense workout. Here are eight effective tips and ways you can stay hydrated after an intense workout:

Why do we need to hydrate properly?

Hydration is important for your health. Your body contains water, and you need it to function properly. The human body consists of about 50-65% water. This can change based on age, weight, sex, and fitness level. If you’re dehydrated, you may feel tired more easily, have trouble concentrating; feel achy or bloated; have dark circles under your eyes, and have difficulty thinking clearly.

When you don’t drink enough water after exercising intensely—especially in hot weather—you risk serious health consequences such as heat stroke (hyperthermia), dehydration (hyponatremia), muscle cramps/spasms or strain injuries like pulled muscles or tendons (myositis).

Dehydration is also associated with poor performance in sports and exercise. Most athletes who die from heat stroke do not drink enough water while training or competing. So make sure you drink plenty of fluids before, during, and after exercise to protect your body against dehydration-related illnesses.

What are the signs you need to hydrate?

  • Thirst. If you’re thirsty, it means your body needs more water. You can also check the color of your urine. It should be light yellow or clear with a few bubbles in it. If it’s dark yellow or cloudy, that’s a sign that you need to drink more water.
  • Dry mouth and throat are both signs that dehydration is setting in—and they’ve linked: Your mouth gets dry because there isn’t enough moisture around your mouth and throat due to dehydration! So if your mouth feels parched after a workout.
  • Lightheadedness and fatigue are also signs of dehydration; if these happen during workouts or after working out, it could mean that you haven’t been drinking enough fluids before starting your exercise routine (or while exercising).
  • Muscle cramps are another common side effect of not drinking enough water during physical activity; they can be painful and sometimes even debilitating, so make sure to keep hydrated!

What are the best ways to rehydrate after a sweaty workout?

So, you’ve been sweating your butt off at the gym, and now you’re ready to chug a big glass of water. But are you doing your body any favors? The answer is no: drinking water alone does not replace what’s lost during a workout. “Dehydration can lead to fatigue and nausea,” says Heidi Skolnik, RDN, CDE. “It can also affect your performance.” But don’t worry—there are plenty of ways to rehydrate after an intense sweat session that will make all the difference in how quickly you recover from that grueling SoulCycle class or high-intensity boot camp session. Here are some smart strategies for keeping yourself well-hydrated on those days when nothing else will do!

1. Hydrate before and during your workout.

The best time to hydrate is before you exercise, so you have time for the water to reach all of your cells before you start exercising. After that, it’s also important to stay hydrated while working out: Dehydration can cause dizziness and fainting when you’re exercising, which is not ideal! Rehydrate by eating foods high in electrolytes in addition to drinking fluids.

A great way to get more electrolytes into your system post-workout is by eating foods such as avocados and cucumbers—they both contain potassium (which helps regulate blood pressure) and magnesium (which helps muscles function properly).

2. Take frequent sips, not big chugs.

  • Drink slowly. Sipping small amounts of water throughout the day can ensure that you’re properly hydrated and that your body is getting the right amount of fluids. Even if you don’t feel thirsty, take a few sips every hour; this will help keep your body operating at peak performance.
  • Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink water. One of the most common (and potentially dangerous) mistakes people make when it comes to hydrating after a workout is waiting until they are thirsty before they get some liquid in their bodies. By then, it may be too late! When exercising in hot temperatures or sweating heavily during exercise, the body needs to replace lost fluids as soon as possible—not just after sweating has stopped for a while and thirst sets in!
  • Don’t drink too much at once; sip small amounts regularly throughout the day instead of gulp-gulping down big glasses all at once (which can cause bloating). It’s best not to drink large volumes at one time because this can lead to problems such as bloating or nausea due to how quickly water gets absorbed into our system—which means we won’t absorb other nutrients from food either! That being said…

3. Add electrolytes to your water.

When you’re working out hard, it’s important to keep hydrated. But if you don’t replenish the electrolytes (sodium, potassium, and calcium) that are lost during sweat sessions, your body won’t be able to perform at its peak. Plus, studies show that people who don’t drink enough water tend to crave higher-calorie beverages like soda or juice.

Add electrolytes by using a sports drink or low-sodium broth—both of which can be found in most grocery stores—instead of plain old water when rehydrating after an intense workout. Avoid adding sugar or salt to your post-workout liquids; they can increase cravings for other unhealthy foods and drinks later in the day.

4. Refuel with a hydrating smoothie.

A smoothie is an excellent way to refuel after a workout. Not only will it help you rehydrate, but it also provides the nutrients that your body needs to recover as well. Mixing together fruits and vegetables allows you to get plenty of fluids while boosting your intake of vitamins and minerals. Plus, they taste delicious!

To ensure that your smoothie is hydrating enough, use ingredients high in water content, such as berries or cucumbers. You can add some ice cubes if you want something cold without watering down the flavor too much (this works especially well with frozen fruit).

5. Eat foods high in water content.

You can also eat foods high in water content. These include fruits and vegetables such as cucumber, celery, and broccoli. Vegetables particularly high in water content include lettuce, spinach, and tomatoes. Fruits like watermelon, strawberries, oranges, and grapefruit contain lots of natural water. Nuts such as cashews or almonds don’t just provide hydration; they’re also a great source of protein!

If you don’t have time to make an elaborate meal before your next workout session—or even if your schedule is so busy that you don’t have time for food. Consider keeping some healthy snacks on hand at work or school so that you always have something nutritious available when hunger strikes during the day (and trust me: it will).

6. Eat fruit and vegetables with high water content.

Fruit and veggies are a great way to get nutrients and water. The higher the water content of your food, the more likely you’re rehydrating yourself correctly! Watermelon is an excellent example of this principle: It’s 92% water and is extremely high in vitamin C. Other fruits with high levels of H20 include cantaloupe, blueberries, and raspberries (all around 90%). Vegetables are also good sources of liquid goodness; cucumber slices or celery sticks can help you stay hydrated after a workout.

7. Pair salty snacks or meals with water.

While a salty snack is not a substitute for drinking water, it can help replace some of the sodium you lose from sweating. Some people may need to drink more than they think due to their sweat rate or personal physiology. Salt is also important because a salt deficiency can cause hyponatremia, which is very dangerous in athletes (and non-athletes). If you want to add salt to your snacks, try pretzels or tortilla chips with salsa instead of potato chips with ketchup—both are high in calories and fat but provide essential nutrients like potassium and magnesium that help keep muscles working properly during exercise.


So, we’ve covered some of the best ways to rehydrate after a workout. We hope that they were helpful! If you have any other tips or tricks, we’d love to hear them in the comments below.