Motion is lotion, but you will not get very far without water.

Water is essential for your body to function properly. We are constantly losing water through our skin, urine, feces, sweat and through respiration. Minimum daily fluid needs for sedentary individuals is 2 to 3 liters per day. If you are a fitness enthusiast, or an athlete, your minimum daily needs are 3 to 4 liters per day. Minimum needs promote kidney function and maintain urine output.

Staying hydrated is a powerful way to ensure your best performance. When you are hydrated, your body can tolerate fluid absorption. When you are dehydrated, fluids slowly exit the stomach for absorption. This is why some people say they feel bloated when they first start drinking enough water. With practice, the water bloat will diminish.

If you are physically active, whether from a job or workout, here are four down and dirty sports nutrition hydration tips you need to know to promote optimal performance.

1. If applicable, 4 hours before activity, drink 16 to 24 ounces of fluid.

2. If applicable, 2 hours before activity, drink 5 to 12 ounces of fluid.

3. Weigh yourself before and after activity. Body weight can be used to calculate your sweat rate. Sweat rate formula is defined as your body weight before exercise minus body weight after exercise. If you weigh within 0.5 pounds of your before weight, you are properly hydrated. Drink to quench your thirst and restore easily. However, if you lost weight, drink 16 to 24 ounces per pound of body weight lost. Don’t delay! If rapid dehydration occurs, greater than or equal to 2 pounds weight loss, drink 48 ounces to catch up. During activity, drink every 10 to 20 minutes (10 if you are a heavy sweater, 20 if you are a light sweater). Be prepared with at least 1 ounce of fluid for every 10 pounds of body weight, per hour. (Example: A 150-pound person’s minimum fluid needs during exercise is 15 ounces per hour). Some athletes require up to 50 ounces for every 10 pounds of body weight. One medium mouthful is about 1 ounce of fluid. PERFORMANCE TIP: If you are a moderate to heavy sweater and are active for more than 90 minutes a day, choose coconut water or sports drinks that contain sodium chloride for electrolyte replenishment, and 14 to 17 grams of carbohydrate per 8 ounces of fluid for glycogen sparing. The best time to replace sodium loss is during exercise, not afterward.

4. Drink plain water at meals and don’t skimp on the salt if you are a heavy sweater with normal blood pressure. Active individuals need more sodium and water to replace what is depleted during active days.

Bottoms up, y’all!

Danielle Fryer RD, CSSD, CSCS is an advocate for healthy living. She is an Alabama native and former Rainbow City resident, and has served in leadership wellness roles in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Arizona. She now lives in Scottsdale, Arizona, where she is director of health and fitness at DC Ranch Country Club.