Many of us have no idea how much water we drink each day. A very small percentage of us take the time to track or document our daily water intake – tracking the daily intake of calories, proteins, fats, and carbohydrates is rightfully viewed as a crucial component for losing or gaining weight, but tracking water consumption tends to be an afterthought for most.
Water is more than just that liquid you use to make your coffee every morning. It’s essential to keeping your body functioning correctly and helps with several vital functions. The most important functions water performs internally within your body include:
• Transportation of glucose and oxygen to the muscles
• Digestion and converting food to energy for your body to use
• Regulating your body temperature during exercise
If you are not providing your body with enough water on a daily basis, your overall health and performance in the gym or on the field could be suffering.
The amount of water an individual needs is going to vary based on the individual. For example, a 200-pound individual who exercises at an extreme level for 90 minutes each day should be consuming more water than a 135-pound individual who takes a 30-minute walk each day.
When thinking about water consumption one should think about it in the same mindset as caloric intake. Depending on your job, normal daily activities, and how long or hard you are training, you are going to adjust your water levels accordingly. The more energy you are expending in your day or in your workout, the more fluid you are going to need to replace what you have lost in sweat. The more muscles you’re using in your body equates to your body needing more energy, thus more water being needed to replenish your body.
A studying examining the pre-exercise hydration levels in athletes and recreational exercisers found that almost 50% of the exercisers in the study were dehydrated. Almost half of these participants were entering their workouts in a state of dehydration, so imagine what state the body was in by the end of the workout? If your body is in a continuous state of dehydration, your ability to function, process food, and perform optimally in the gym could be impacted dramatically.
A lack of water in your body can also affect your muscle development. Dehydration can have a severe impact on muscle growth and recovery. A study from the European Journal of Applied Physiology found a correlation between the loss of water from the body and the loss of strength. Participants in the study who lost 3 percent of their body weight in water were not able to perform as many repetitions and were unable to bring their heart rate down to a normal level as fast as the other participants.
The average athlete loses 6-10 percent of body weight in sweat loss, so if a loss of just 3 percent has been shown to fatigue performance, imagine the state your body is in when you are losing double to triple that amount? By not hydrating properly you are putting your body in a weakened state which can have a negative effect on your ability to perform on the field and in the gym.
One of the easiest ways to help you with your water consumption is to make an effort of drinking a full, 16 oz. glass of water upon waking up each morning, before going to bed each night, and with every meal throughout your day. Using this routine each day will guarantee you are consuming 90 oz. of water each day and you can add more from that point forward.
Depending on your exercise time and level each day you may need to add more water into your daily diet. If you are feeling tired, fatigued, or not performing at a level you normally perform at in the gym, one of the first things you should evaluate is your daily water consumption. Consuming the right amount of water before, during, and after your workout can go a long way in helping you achieve the goals you have set for yourself.
1. Stover, E. A., Petrie, H. J., Passe, D., Horswill, C. A., Murray, B., & Wildman, R. (2006). Urine specific gravity in exercisers prior to physical training.Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism, 31(3), 320-327.
2. Kraft, J. A., Green, J. M., Bishop, P. A., Richardson, M. T., Neggers, Y. H., & Leeper, J. D. (2010). Impact of dehydration on a full body resistance exercise protocol. European Journal of Applied Physiology, 109(2), 259-267.