I would like to know how to properly get hydrated? I assume it is more than just drinking lots of water. It was suggested here that one should hydrate before, during and after extensive workouts.
You need to factor in what keeps your body hydrated before breaking a sweat. If you've heard the term "Electrolytes", it is simply a blood mineral made up of sodium, potassium, chloride, etc. In order to be replenished before and after cardio activity, your body needs to have high enough levels so that it can function. For instance, if I'm breaking a sweat, I'm loosing electrolytes that need to be replaced via water or sports drinks. I usually stick with water while lifting and sports drinks/water for activities such as basketball or football.
You may also be interested in Pedialyte in extreme situations to prevent cramping and sustain higher levels of electrolytes than normal (marathons).
It is not exactly clear what your intentions are. If you drink tons of water your kidneys are not happy. You will have many bio-breaks ;)
In case of (muscle) workouts you can increase the amount of water in your muscles by using creatine.
If your intention is only to drink enough water before a training session you could eat vegetables/fruits with a high water amount. Fruits also increase your low-carbs for energy. Drink a lot but not pure water, instead use isotonic drinks.