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About hydration and drinks.

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
It can take a long time to get an up-to-date response or contact with relevant users.

What do you drink during your freediving activity.

  • Nothing

    Votes: 4 13.3%
  • Plain water

    Votes: 17 56.7%
  • Complemented drinks (personal recipe)

    Votes: 4 13.3%
  • Complemented drinks (buy)

    Votes: 5 16.7%

  • Total voters


Breather... so far!
Mar 9, 2004
On this threads the need to drink is well reported, but he seem that must of the divers drink water... just plain water!

I'm not a doctor, but I use to be a mountain guide, and for 7 years see drink all sorts of weird stuff and they effects. At the mountain school you will get more than 20h on the subject on each of the guide levels. During the entry tests (marathon like but in mountains, with weighted backpacks and timed) I've been able to see the performance of each well know participant (the same people year after year) in function of they drink... four main groups:

-Don't drink enough.
-Drink plain water.
-Drink a complemented drink.
-Drink too much (normally plain water).

Plain water have the inconvenient to need to be digested: your body need to complement it with minerals until the right concentration to enable your body to incorporate it to the blood stream. This, added to sweating and pee will affect your blood composition along a non continue curve, and by then all you body chemistry affecting your performance. On the worst case you can get a water intoxication (talk a bout that at the end) leading to grave disorders.

On the other side complemented drinks (isotonic or hypertonic) have dosed levels of solutes (270-330mOsm/kg iso and + for hyper that normally include salts and carbohydrates. Because non or little digestion is needed, is little effort for the blood stream to incorporate your drink. Be balancing your body losses (sweat and pee) enable a optimum body chemistry... good for your performance!

The carbohydrates on the drink reduce the pressure and balance your body energetic systems. Helps to keep the head clear after prolonged efforts and a prompt recuperation (hyper for recuperation).

Water poisoning come from an imbalance between the intercellular and interstitial fluids. The main protagonist are potassium and sodium and a couple of hormones like ADH (antidiuretic H). Is a long dissertation I will avoid, but the main factor for the imbalance seem to be the loss of sodium by sweat and a hydration based on plain water (no aport in sodium).
The interesting part about the imbalance is that the symptoms include neurological disorder and a loss of blood volume.

I realize that mountain activities at not comparable to diving, but on the other side diving is a delicate balance of the body chemistry, and that's why I'm interested to know what are you drinking!

Please, from beginners to athletes... tell us how you drink; why, what, how and amounts.
Please, people with knowledge... give us your opinion.
Last edited:
Pyro, when dragging a float, carrying and extra bottle shouldn't matter. ;)
Dehydration affects freediving alot, or so I heard atleast.
Keeping hydrated is one of the most common advises I heard from expirienced freedivers. I'm slowly adapting to that advise as well.

So far I drank water. That's what I usally drink when not diving. I try to "super-hydrate" myself before going diving (if not carrying a bottle). I think/feel that my body chemistry won't change too much from pissing twice in 3 hours after drinking well in the hours before. I'm not thirsty at all when coming back to the shore. When not diving, I don't have problems with this routine, I think my body is used to it.
If I would be diving for a longer time, I will consider taking a better drink than water with me, but I wouldn't know what. I would be affraid that drinks containing suger/flavour would switch my stomach into "eat" mode, which would end my diving, and might even trigger ketosis when blood sugar drops after a short while. If I have no "food iritation" I can fast for long hours without feeling hungry or that my body is suffering - I don't lose weight noticably or something like that. I resist strongly the idea that one should have a snack every few hours, that kind of metabolism just don't work for me.

Interesting thread Pablo, I'm looking forward to other people's ways.

When mountain trekking, I did use powdered drinks (orange tang, not real sports drink), dry fruits and sneakers bars. I used those only on harder days. I think it does help. It's just that freediving feels very different to me.

I will start paying attention to this when Eric Fattah chimes in with the definitive statement on this matter.

His statement will be science. Everything else is just stamp collecting !
Mostly I drink bottled mineral water, and sometimes I make fresh orange juice with a pinch of salt. I usually take a multivitamin daily as well so I'm hoping my mineral intake is somewhat balanced.

There is an excellent article on hydration by Laura Harris:


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Reactions: Pablo
I may not be eric, but this is what I do for hydration before diving.

Start drinking water (tap) just less than 2hrs before diving.
In the first hour i would have drunk 1-1.5l of water.

then I have a 1l of sport hydration mix which also has some simple carbs in(which is easily ingested or at least so stated on the bottle! and concurse with Pablo), for the next 30-40mins

then not drink for the last 20mins (while getting changed to go diving)

My resoning is, so that I'm trying to be fully hydrated, normally dive in the morning so need to re-hydrate from sleeping. I use to drink just water, but thinking about the amount i didn't want to be getting rid of too much salt etc... through peeing it out, so started drink the hydration mix (lightly dyluted) to compensate this, it also provides some carbs for the diivng.

The last period is to empty the stomach as much as possible.

The periods were determind by my transport to the dive site, first one is on the train, second period is in a car to the dive site and the last period as perviously stated is changing and preparation.

This has been my routine for the last couple of years. The add mix is in the last couple of months. It so far I haven't noticed any negative effects occuring after this change.
No excuses Pyro, dehydration rises the chances of BO, and not only because of the physiologic changes you could feel on your body, but as well by the neurological disorders that diminish your ability to "feel" and understand your situation... specially if you dive deep!

Be happy, is a solution for your problem :) : build one of those and your diving will improve dramatically... with drinks :p !

Yeap... I hope Eric is scanning all the info he can find to help us on this one. But still... tell us what are you drinking...
  • Like
Reactions: Jon
Another view... Once on the water you can lay on the top and fin out with much less effort (keep your float line in board)

Out the water is a nice back pack to carry your stuff to the car.

Easy and cheap to build.
Pablo, you're will and ability to construct anything thinkable regarding to diving invokes admiration from me! Is there anything you won't build ?
You have one month to post pictures of a DIY amphibic vehicle.:D

Does laying on it really helps you to cover distances? I imagine that the pressure on the legs is the same, no? (I'm talking about the surfboad;))
I still feel my legs after the last fin in/out on tuesday, and that was after we conviced a guy on a sailboat to throw us a rope and tow us half the way out... was surprisingly speedy.
Sorry to deceive you... still accept your karma :D !!!

I found this one on a AU web, and I source the board... but finally spend $$$ on a fast and more safe kayak, and the bodyboard went to a kid.

But yes this thinks help a lot during your swimming, are easier to tow around and enable you to take a bit more stuff with out the hassle of the drag on the water. Can keep the fish out the sharks, and you can surf in to the beach to impress the chicks :cool: .

Big fish is easier to fight on these thinks, and a lot of BF spearos use them... a float ins no mach in any point.
Last edited:
back to drinks!

Nice article Adrian... there is some!

But doesn't supply the intricate and specific theory some of the eminent members of this forum are so willing to share with us.

Found glycol interesting (old thread form Eric) and will be nice to have a theoretic approach to it... I'll try to get some and have a slip!

I've trying with different drinks, and a few mineral additives. But I have tendency to swell around the eyes hands and feet when using isotonic drinks: he could be due to abuse the doses in in between the dives... I'm thinking about adapting one of my old camelbacks to an weighted harness and a streamlined soft cover...

I normally over drink once the weekend is approaching, and use simple nearly isotonic drinks (fresh lemon or orange/ salt/ glucose/bicarbonate) during. I try to have a tomato juice after (potassium).

Sometimes I add a hydration pack to my 3 o'clock (night before any dive) muesli... just to get some minerals in there.

Have someone experience with the plasma expanders they use on the UVI for massive blood losses? I remember on the mountain rescue group to see our doctor apply those, and see the blood pressure rise dramatically. But the interesting side effect was a buffer one: the blood PH tend to remain constant... could be that be apply to CO2 tolerance?
Hi Pablo,

I'm not too scientific about it, but our drink of choice is dilute fresh limeade. We are diving pretty much all day in the tropics, spearing, sight seeing, a little bit of deep diving, and need the water. The lime tastes good and the little bit of sugar helps energy levels. Keeping hydrated makes a BIG difference in how fast we get tired. I have found that if we make it stronger, it doesn't taste as good and , I suspect, doesn't work as well.

  • Like
Reactions: Pablo
Re: back to drinks!

Originally posted by Pablo
I normally over drink once the weekend is approaching, and use simple nearly isotonic drinks (fresh lemon or orange/ salt/ glucose/bicarbonate) during. I try to have a tomato juice after (potassium).
Why would you want bicrbonate in your drink?
Buffering CO2 sounds like something I wouldn't do most of the time if that's the reason, if it works that way anyhow. Also never thought bicarbonate would help any activity, since it just "inflates" your stomach...:confused:

Regarding karma, I already gave you all I can. :)
I'm still waiting for that amphibic DIY vehicle though....

EDIT: how do you consume glycol anyway? (not that I'de try...)
I'm not even sure what it is...
I will start paying attention to this when Eric Fattah chimes in with the definitive statement on this matter.
His statement will be science. Everything else is just stamp collecting !
I don't see why DB has to be an "Ask Eric" forum. Anyone is capable of doing the research and then getting back with some answers. After all none of us are born learned...
  • Like
Reactions: Pablo and tuomo
A 2% drop in body water can trigger fuzzy short-term memory, trouble with computation, and difficulty focusing. The impact this could have on freediving is obvious. Then there are the physiological effects - lowering of lactate threshold, faster heart rate, lower BP etc
For an average male 2% is about 1.5 L, so try weighing yourself before and after a long session in the water and if you measure a loss aproaching this amount then you haven't been drinking enough/effectively.
Also beware of the feeling that you don't need to drink after a session - the thirst mechanism can be repressed, or even mistaken for hunger.
If you need to add an energy source to the drink then try maltodextrin (partially digested corn starch), which is a glucose polymer and therefore won't give you a blood-sugar spike such as with normal sports drinks. Also try adding a broader range of electrolytes than just Sodium and Potassium.
The little bicarbonate I ad to the drink (next to nothing) just normalize the PH of my drink after adding the lemon juice... an acid drink irritates my guts while spearing for long hours.

I like the weight yourself after diving... a definitive way to check your hydration levels.
Didn't anybody post sometime that lemon juice is acidic only when fresh and becomes alkline after some while?
Anyway, I know that's a recipe I don't want..
It will feel like messing with food for me.
I use water with some gatorade crystals in it. I mix it so that it tastes more like water than gatorade, but it seems like a more balanced drink than either straight water or gatorade/sports drink, which I find too sweet.

When it's cold outside, coffee before, during and after the dive is nice :D Keeps the HR up nice and high keeping me warm, and when that dosn't work the excess caffine shakes take over and keep me nice and toasty! ;) The other benefit is that I usually can't hold my breath longer than :30 seconds or so when in that state... wait a sec, did I say benefit?? :duh :confused:

Oops... apparently the back button on my internet explorer can make me post twice.
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