The most under rated supplement… WATER!
Do you know what the easiest way is to spot someone who cares deeply about their health and fitness? They’re carrying around a water bottle, maybe even a gallon jug. Because somewhere along their fitness journey someone advised them to drink a gallon of water a day. However if you ask most of these people why they drink that much water, a lot of times their response is “Because my coach told me to.” It’s much easier to be compliant with nutrition plans when you understand the “why” behind things, so it’s time to shed some light on why it is that we drink so much water!
Somewhere along the way one gallon per day became the magical number. This is a great goal… for ME – I’m currently about 120 lbs. So unless you’re shrimp status like me, one gallon just isn’t enough! Caloric intake is dependent on body mass, so naturally water intake should vary as well. Your body requires 1 ounce of water for every 2 pounds of body weight in order to keep your organs optimally functioning. So for someone my size, 60 ounces of water are just devoted to keeping my organs happy. That does not factor in water lost during exercise or water needed for digestion! At Team Atrain, we recommend 1 ounce of water for every pound of body weight.
If you’ve ever found yourself in a conversation with someone about how much water you drink, you’ve surely heard someone tell you that drinking that much water is bad for you and you’re going to throw off your electrolyte balance, and people die from too much water. So how much water is too much? Your kidneys can comfortably filter about one liter of water per hour. That equates to about 6 gallons per day! So the chances that you’re drinking more than that are very slim. However water intoxication usually occurs from drinking too much water too fast, so as long as you’re not going over 1 liter per hour you’re all good!
I like to consider anyone working on their health and fitness as “athletes” because we place different demands on our bodies than most of the population. As athletes, our bodies require more water for several reasons. We consume significantly more protein than the average person, which in turn requires more water to digest, so it is imperative that we drink more water to accommodate this. So now that we’ve digested all that food, we need to make sure it gets distributed properly to all those hard working muscles. Water comes into play here to aid in pulling those nutrients into our muscles. For those of you in the competition circuit, you’ll often hear people complain that they looked too “flat” on stage and say that they should have had more carbs. That is not necessarily true. I mean look at the word – “carbohydrate.” People forget about that second part – “hydrate.” If you cut water to dry out and look leaner, those carbs can’t give your muscles that beautiful full pump because they can’t pull water into your muscles!
Another reason our athletic bodies need more water is because we sweat! I mean who doesn’t love walking out of the gym looking like a completely sweaty mess? We all love it! Sweat makes you feel like a total badass! However we need to make sure we’re replenishing those lost fluids [which can be up to 2 liters during the first hour of intense exercise] that were used to help us regulate our body temperature.
Our bodies are made of large quantities of water. At some point I’m sure you’ve experienced water retention from things like a big meal, sickness, surgery, PMS, traveling. Our bodies are these amazing things that do all they can to protect us and keep us alive. So when our bodies are trying to recover from something, we retain water. Our gut reaction is to pull back on drinking water when we are retaining it because we can’t fathom wanting to drink more and risk further retention. However the opposite is true, the more water we drink the less our bodies will try to hold because it becomes aware that there is a constant input of water. Think of it like your bank account, when you don’t have money coming in and don’t know when you’re going to get paid next you’re probably not going to spend much. But when you have money rolling in, you’re more likely to spend!
So now that you know why you should be drinking an ample amount of water you’re going to commit to your water goals right now. And in a few days you’re inevitably going to complain about how frequent you have to pee! Unfortunately this small reason deters so many people from drinking the water that they need! But here’s the thing, that increased urine output is actually somewhat temporary! Your body takes a little time to adjust to the increased water intake before it knows how to properly absorb and utilize the water. When it does, you won’t find yourself running for the bathroom nearly as often, so make sure you give your body time to adjust before giving up! Think of the ground after the first rainstorm of the season. The water sits on the cracked dirt making puddles. But after a few good rainstorms, the water absorbs into the dirt and you’re left with mud instead of puddles. Our bodies function in a similar manner.
It can be hard to count that many glasses to reach your water goals, this is why you often see people walking around with gallon jugs. You can even mark lines to give yourself mini goals to hit throughout the day so that you don’t find yourself chugging a lot of water at the end of the day to meet your goal. However carrying around a gallon jug can be somewhat tedious so I opt for a 1 liter bottle. I start my day with 5 rubber bands around the bottle, every time I refill my bottle I take a band off. By the end of the day my bottle will not have any bands on it. Being the coffee addict that I am, I make sure that I drink one full liter before I have any coffee. I find that it keeps me on track to drinking water throughout the day.
We often hear of people doing detoxes and cleanses, but so much of this can be accomplished simply by increasing your water intake… for a hell of a lot cheaper I might add! Your body is designed to naturally cleanse and detox – that’s why we go to the bathroom! So drink up and help your body digest, refuel, recover, and enjoy increased athletic performance and clearer skin! Cheers!
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