Recently we’ve learned all about the three essential macronutrients: Carbohydrates, protein and essential fatty acids. Now let’s turn our attention to a much-needed (but often overlooked) beverage: Water.
Your body is mainly made up of water
Up to 78% of your body is water. And water is important to every single function in your body… including your metabolism. If you’re even a little dehydrated, you’ll get thirsty, although some people mistake it for hunger. If you get too dehydrated, you might start feeling a little ill, might notice a headache or some nausea. Your body functions won’t work optimally (including fat burning). And it just gets worse as you get more dehydrated.
So why wait until you get thirsty or get a headache?Â You should aim to get enough water on a daily basis so that your body doesn’t need to ask for it.
At this point, you might be rolling your eyes and saying, “yeah, yeah… just drink a lot of water. Got it. Check.” But since you’re lifting weights and doing cardio – and maybe even taking supplements – you need more water than the average person.
You see, the recommendation for the average person is to get seven or eight glasses of water per day, which is about two liters. Most people don’t actually drink that many glasses per day. Instead, they get their water through other indirect sources, such as the foods they eat and the other beverages they drink. For example, many fruits are comprised mostly of water.
However, the problem is that people count beverages like coffee as part of their daily intake. Since coffee has caffeine in it, it actually works as a diuretic. That means it can actually pull the water out of your body (which is why you need to use the restroom so frequently when you drink coffee). So while coffee can be somewhat hydrating, it’s not as good as having a plain glass of water (or decaffeinated coffee if you must).
The other thing is that this isn’t a “one size fits all” concept. Meaning you may need four liters of water per day, while your buddy just needs two liters per day.
Here are the factors that influence how much water you need to drink per day:
Exercise and other activities. Obviously, if you’re sweating up storm during your weight lifting sessions or your cardio workouts, then you’ll need to replenish this lost liquid. Drink a glass or two before your workouts, and then replenish at least every 20 minutes during your session.
Temperature. If it’s hot, you’re going to sweat more, which means you’re losing liquid. Obviously, you need to be sure to drink more whenever this happens.
The foods you eat. As mentioned above, eating watery foods (like fruits or soups) means you’re already getting some liquids. But if you’re drinking caffeine (or alcohol), you’re losing some of this liquid.
Supplements or medication. If you’re taking any medications, talk to your doctor about whether you need to increase your water intake. Also, you should increase your water intake if you’re using certain supplements (which we’ll talk about in the next post).
Illness. Finally, if you’re ill then you need to drink more water. This is particularly true if you’re vomiting or you have diarrhea, both of which can quickly dehydrate you.
That’s it for this time. Next time you’ll find out if you should be taking supplements, so stay tuned!