As a kid I, like many, dreamt of being a professional footballer. While I did not necessarily have the technical ability or physical presence to be deemed any good, I still hoped that one day it would happen.
Fast forward a few years, and you can imagine my excitement when I was given the opportunity to be treated like a pro for the day at the Grove hotel, the England national team's base.
I would be put through my paces in a rigourous fitness test devised by Lucozade sport scientist Tess Morris, with Manchester United and England star Ashley Young running his eye over our performance. No pressure then.
The test would be my chance to see if I was actually fit enough to mix it with the best, while Lucozade monitored different variables from my rate of dehydration and amount of sweat, to weight loss and sweat composition.
It was designed to be short and intense, replicating exactly the type of session Ashley and his Manchester United team-mates would endure in pre-season training.
We would work in circuits, which included sprints, squats, crunches and lunges, interspersed with ball control work, while keeping the momentum going until Ashley and Tess decided we had done enough.
If it sounds tough, I can tell you it was even tougher.
My sweat rate was above average, losing around 1.18 litres/per hour, and my dehydration levels were around twice as much as a Premier League footballer.
While a great deal of that came down to my embarassing lack of fitness, it was also linked to my ill preparation ahead of a hard work out.
It was pointed out to me that in order to hit an ideal average in terms of hydration, I needed to take on around 500ml of fluid prior to the session, and should have taken that into consideration the night before.
Ideal hydration would have ensured that I maintained a good heart rate throughout the session and therefore allowed for a more controlled core temperature.
While dehydration was a huge aspect of the fitness test, rehydration was just as important. Much like you wouldn't put diesel in a Formula One car, we were warned off of taking on water when thirsty.
The composition of water meant that the body would not absorb it in the same way it would a sugar-based drink. Sugar passes through muscle easier than water, so by drinking Lucozade, in which water molecules were attached to the sugar, I was hyrdrated quicker and more effectively.
The work out not only opened my eyes to the basic levels of fitness needed to a professional footballer, but allowed me to appreciate the levels of meticulous preparation that top-level players go through to ensure they are at their peak.
Speaking to Ashley Young afterwards, he echoed this message: “I put you through your paces in a conditioning session that we tend to do at United. It's helping to condition your body for a traning session or game at the weekend and it helps injury prevention. It's vitally important to condition yourself and hydrate with Lucozade sport, as it's better than water.
“The fitness coaches and sport scientists make sure that they know exactly what you need to be doing every week, and prepare to for the games at the weekend.”
Lucozade Sport gives athletes the fuel to perform by replacing the electrolytes they lose when they sweat. It hydrates faster than water allowing athletes to sustain performance and go Faster. Stronger. For Longer. Go to www.lucozade.com