Water is without doubt the most essential nutrient your body needs. Don’t get enough of it and it won’t take long for you to go into dehydration and things can go rapidly downhill from there. So for something THAT important to your survival, you’d think it would be easy to know if you’re drinking enough, right?
But your body only starts to send signals of thirst when you get to the point of actually needing water, it won’t tell you how to drink an optimum amount for health, fat loss and energy. It’s only trying to keep you from being dehydrated – which are two different ends of the spectrum.
So here’s some quick-fire answers on Hydration –
How much water do you need?
Everyone needs a different amount of water, the amount you need is influenced by your gender, size, activity levels and the current climate. A 6ft rugby player that trains 6x per week in a hot climate will need more water than you would think compared to a slimmer 5ft person in shape, training 3x per week.
The most common recommendation that you’ve probably heard is around 2litres of clear water per day and that’s not too far off. This is because it assumes most of us take in more fluid than just water, i.e. teas, coffees, fizzy drinks etc. More on this with a later question…
The total amount of water you actually need will usually be between 2.5-3.5 litres – here’s a good calculator to come back to to find out how much could be the perfect amount for you: http://www.csgnetwork.com/humanh2owater.html
Can you drink too much?
Yes, but this is rare. It’s can sometimes happen in endurance athletes, if they try and take on a lot of water before events, but over-do it.
Does water intake affect fat loss?
Absolutely! Water is the key element for a tonne of the reactions in your body. Burning body fat is no different, if you’re well hydrated it becomes much easier and faster for your body to transport, use and flush out toxins while metabolising body fat.
Water also helps keep you feeling slightly fuller, helps you feel less tired and perform better in the gym – All turning you into a fat burning machine!
Does it matter what you drink?
Yes. Clear water is without a doubt the best for your body to drink. Caffeine containing drinks act as a diuretic on your body, which is a signal for your body to work on removing fluids – it’s why you need to pee 20 minutes after your cup! Just be aware of this because even though you’ve drank a mug full of liquid, you won’t actually be holding onto that amount.
Other drinks like alcohol, carbonated drinks (even low calorie options) and squash, aren’t ideal for hydration either. Your liver has to work on removing the toxins from them (in the form of additives with the fizzy drinks and squash), a process that costs H20, before it can let that water into your bloodstream.
Stick with as much clear water as you can and you’ll feel epic!
How do I know if I’m drinking enough water?
Here’s a urine chart!
How much should I drink when I train?
Make sure you’re drinking a decent amount before during and after, especially if you know you get sweaty on sessions! Somewhere around 25% of your total water for the day around your workout.
How much does the temperature affect the amount I need to drink?
Quite a lot. As shown in the calculator above, changing the climate makes a big difference to the output of your water for the day. Not just in sweating while it’s hot. But we also lose a lot of water as condensation as we breathe too, which you may have heard before. So even if you the temperature doesn’t get you sweating, you’re still losing more water throughout the day the warmer it gets.
There you have it guys, hope that helps, and let’s all raise a glass to the clear stuff! 😉