We know water is important, but how much do we really need for optimal health and athletic goals.
We truly are, as Dr Michael Colgan would say “Hairy bags of water”. In fact, we are approximately 60% water. There are exceptions to this rule. Individuals with large amounts of lean muscle will have a higher percentage of body water since water comprises 74% of muscle and organ weight but only 20-30% of fat.
Water intake is needed for the following functions in the human body:
- Lubrication of all tissues and cells
- Chemical reactions and metabolic processes including protein synthesis
- Plasma volume and as a medium for the transport of nutrients, hormones and peptides.
- Regulation of body temperature
Water is also a structural part of body tissues such as proteins and glycogen. To make it simple! You need water if you want to have energy, build muscle or burn fat!
As a rule of thumb, if you’re thirsty then you are already 1-2% dehydrated. That is enough to affect your workout performance and make you feel sluggish.
Our thirst mechanism is not the most reliable indicator of true hydration so it is important to drink consistently through out the day even if you are not thirsty.
To ensure you are getting enough of this vital stuff; aim to consume at least one ounce per kilogram of your body weight.
For Example: A 220lb or 100kg male would require about 100 ounces of fluid per day. This would be 3.5 liters of water per day. This would be the minimum that this person should be drinking. If they are working out, consuming caffeine based beverages or in hot weather, then they will need more.
Focus on counting only water towards your hydration. Pop and juice do not really have a place in a bodybuilding plan and should not be counted towards your hydration. If you drink coffee then consume 2 cups of water for every one cup of coffee that you drink to avoid the dehydration effects.
Testing for dehydration: The Toilet Test
Last but not least, let your urinary output be the guide. Yes… I am serious! If you are making frequent trips to the bathroom and your urine is clear then odds are that you are well hydrated. Please note that this test does not work within a few hours following B vitamin consumption. Your urine will be yellow no matter what.
Skin tone and texture can be another good guide. If your skin seems dry, flaky or stiff when pinched then you also need to look at increasing your water intake.
Written by Tammy Strome RNCP, Ckin, IFBB Pro
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