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Sydney's Hydration Challenge for July

emember your New Year's resolution? Yes? No? Fear not: Senior Instructor SYDNEY MILLER is sharing simple, healthy and habit-forming challenges every month of 2017. Each one is designed to help you reach long-term goals through mini-routines. Here’s what she’s got on tap for July.

Fact: At SOUL, we know how to sweat, so proper hydration is key to staying alert and energized, and keeping our bodies functioning properly. Most of us need between 8-10 cups of water (as a general rule of thumb) per day — and much more when we factor in heat, sweat and all of that on-the-bike partying. That’s why this month’s challenge is all about that H2O. Sydney teamed up with registered dietitian and Good Housekeeping Nutrition Director JACKIE LONDON to share some (science-backed!) savvy on why you should start sipping this July — and some fun ways to make getting enough fluids a habit, not a hassle.

One class, two bike bottles. Dehydration can have a number of different side effects, from feeling a little lethargic to plummeting blood pressure, which can lead to dizziness and more serious health issues. While everyone’s sweat rate is different, it’s safe to assume that two bike bottles (about 48 ounces total of H2O) is what you’ll need to replete your losses and stay sufficiently hydrated. Aim to drink one bottle's worth during class (on the bike, throughout!) and one after.

Wake up and drink. Start your day with 16 ounces of water first thing when you wake up. While you’re sleeping, you’re likely not drinking (at least, we hope!) so it’s common to wake up dehydrated. Keeping a bottle or glass of water on the nightstand, or putting out a glass in your kitchen before bed can help — visual cues and reminders to drink will help you stay on top of it!

Try a tracker. Another strategy for prioritizing hydration is tracking your water intake through an app. There are a ton of free ones you can download — we like Waterlogged, which makes it really easy to monitor all of your beverages (water but also coffee, tea...we'll get to that next!). You can also set reminders to make sure you reach your daily goal. Expert hint: Put the app on the front page of your phone so you see it every day and are reminded to drink up!

Caffeine counts. Little known fact: Unsweetened beverages like coffee and tea “count” toward your daily fluid needs — and can be a delicious way to meet your levels without feeling the basic blah of plain old water. Another benefit: Coffee and tea have been linked to reducing the risk of chronic disease thanks to their high antioxidant profile, and caffeine in moderation may help boost cognition, memory and, of course, keep you energized. Skip sugary sweeteners, flavored syrups, and sugar-sweetened plant-based milks (like sweetened almond or coconut milk) which are lower in protein, higher in sugar and can rack up calories quickly (plus make you thirstier!).

Replenish losses. If you’re walking frequently (which, if you tried out our June challenge, you’re already doing!) or are a regular at SOUL and frequent exerciser: Rehydration isn’t just about water — it’s also crucial to get back those electrolytes, like sodium and potassium, which keep you balanced and bringing your A-game. Choose a piece of fruit with a handful of nuts, part-skim string cheese with tomatoes, or an unsweetened Greek yogurt with melon or berries to gain back what you’ve lost. You can also consider adding electrolytes to your water: Nuun electrolyte tablets are a good option to pop in your water bottle.

Think sparkling. Good news for LaCroix lovers — sparkling water, seltzer and club soda will help you hydrate, too! Choose flavored or plain options and drink with abandon. The only time to skip these bubbles is if you feel like they’re making you bloated or gassy. Ones to drink in moderation: Generic brands with acesulfame-K, stevia, or sucralose, which research says are OK for health, but can exacerbate the bloat-inducing effects of bubbles.

Eat your H2O. What else counts toward your hydration #goals? Veggies and fruit. Just one apple, for example, can pack up to half a cup of water, plus it’s got loads of vitamin C, fiber and phytonutrients (all key for health). Snack on extra veggies with hummus or salsa, add an extra heap of tomatoes to a salad, and get generous with berries, citrus, melon and stone fruits this season. Another pro tip: Add fruit (frozen or fresh!) to regular or sparkling water. It’ll add flavor and can deliver an extra hit of fiber.

Skip the sweet stuff. Unless you’re riding twice per day or more, pass on sugary drinks — juices and trendy waters like coconut and watermelon are just adding sugar to your day, and can make you thirstier later on.

But obviously, #roséallday. Summer hydration reminder: Drink all the rosé, but make sure to have at least one glass of still or sparkling water between bevs to stave off dehydration. (Because, #summerwater, people!). We’ll drink to that!

Catch classes with SYDNEY at 19th Street, Bryant Park and Union Square. Ready to ride? Click HERE to grab a series.
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