Welcome back to Paddle Healthy on SUPtheMag.com. This week we focus on the importance of what you put in your body before, during, and after races or long training sessions. Utah paddler Betsy May-Risner trains in high altitude, where hydrating is more than extremely necessary. This week, Betsy caught up with us to give you the scoop on how to hydrate the healthy way. – SC

Win before you begin. Most races are lost the day before a race due to improper hydration. Hydrate the day before a race and you're providing your body with the best possible scenario. But don't stop there. Continue race day by hydrating before, during, and after the race.

I live and train at 6,600 feet in the Wasatch Mountains of Northern Utah. This is high desert. Hydration is imperative here and without it, everything dries out. Before becoming truly aware of what proper hydration actually was, and its performance benefits, I, like so many athletes thought about hydration in terms of simple fluid replacement to prevent overheating and cramping. I found out the hard way that proper hydration requires more than just water. Most people don't think they are experiencing dehydration because they don't 'feel' dehydrated. Plain water just cools your system much like your car's radiator.

Proper hydration is necessary to maintain the positive mechanism (actually intracellular hydration) with regards to promoting energy production from glycogen resynthesis, stamina, muscle function, performance, and recovery. Dehydration begins within the cell. As a person begins to feel thirsty, they are well on their way to becoming dehydrated.

Intracellular hydration (the fluid within the cell) encompasses 70% of the fluid in your body and is responsible for 40% of your total body weight. Intracellular hydration requires specific nutrients in very precise ratios to be carried into the cell. Extracellular hydration (the fluid outside the cells) encompasses only 20% of the fluids in your body. Water and high sugar sports drinks only promote extracellular hydration.

H2O Overdrive™ or H2O Overdrive HYDRATE™ are scientifically developed high performance sports beverages myself and many other paddlers use to hydrate and energize at the intracellular level. Both products are based on the same balanced electrolyte matrix and deliver the precise ratio of protein and complex carbohydrates with over 30 essential vitamins, minerals and amino acids to promote intracellular hydration which drives energy, performance, and recovery. H2O Overdrive™ contains only 3 grams of sugar per 20 oz. serving and H2O Overdrive HYDRATE™ contains zero sugar per 12 oz. bottle. There are other hydration products out there, but reading labels is important in ensuring that you are getting the correct balance of proteins, complex carbohydrates and amino acids to promote hydration and recovery. So harness the power of hydration and see just how much better you can perform.