Does Clear Pee Mean You’re Well Hydrated?

Nutrition Question: I’ve always heard that clear pee, and peeing in general, are good signs of being well hydrated.  After a strenuous ride, can I use this test to judge adequate fluid and electrolyte intake?

Kelli’s Answer:  Yes and no.  First, clear pee is a good sign that you’ve hydrated well.  And, it’s good that your body is urinating after a strenuous workout.  However, this does not tell the whole story with electrolytes.  In fact, high volumes of pee can occur because the body is trying to rid itself of water, in order to re-establish good water to sodium ratios.  If you did a good job of drinking fluids, but not lytes during your workout, your lytes will be too low compared to the water you did replenish. The best way for the body to decrease the amount of water compared to sodium is to get rid of some water by peeing. Unfortunately, this can perpetuate dehydration.

My advice? Replenish fluids and lytes, especially sodium during training!  Aim for 16-32 oz. fluid, 400-700 mg sodium, 100-300 mg potassium per hour during any training that lasts 2 or more hours.  If going longer, >3 hours, it’s a good idea to also add calcium (80-120 mg per hour) and magnesium (40-60 mg per hour).

And, in my opinion, if you’re going to drink it, it might as well also contain some of the carbohydrates you need. You can try Kelli’s Homebrew, or your favorite electrolyte-containing, carbohydrate sports drink such as Skratchlabs Secret Drink Mix, Heed, Cytomax, Gatorade Pro, or 1stEndurance EFS.

Please send us your questions for our Expert Sports Nutritionist, Kelli Jennings to “Ask the Sports Nutritionist“. Kelli Jennings is a Registered Dietitian with a passion for healthy eating, wellness, & sports nutrition. For more information go to www.apexnutritionllc.com.