With summer now here, hydration is a great topic because every one of you thinks you drink enough water but most of you DONT! Before discussion how to hydrate properly lets talk about three great reasons why you should drink lots of water:
- Drinking lots of water is one of the easiest ways to lose fat and lose weight. If you drink lots of water it keeps your stomach feeling full and reduces your appetite.
- Drinking lots of water can keep you from dying or ending up in the hospital, this is really important in hot weather and during endurance events or in outdoor summer sports like football. If I had a dollar for every time I saw an athlete in the medical tent with an IV at triathlons, I’d be a very rich man.
- Drinking lots of water makes you stronger and helps you gain muscle. If you are at a dehydration level of 3%, which some of you are, you can increase your strength by 19% just by getting fully hydrated! By being fully hydrated, you have 100% of your strength so you can push new limits in your workouts.
Now, here’s what most of you do. You are dehydrated all day long and then you show up with your gallon jug of water at the gym and start sipping, this does no good at all. The problem is that after you are dehydrated it can take 4-5 hours for your strength to return after you are properly hydrated. The time to start hydrating is 6 hours before your workout, drinking water when you show up at the gym is not helpful!
Lets talk about how much water to drink. A lot of people are scared because they hear those freak news reports of people dying from people drinking too much water. Yes you CAN die from drinking too much water but its VERY difficult to do. In every case I know of, the water deaths were in situations where the person was FORCED to drink too much water – either as initiation pranks or financial desperation to win a stupid radio contest.
Here is my hydration strategy:
- Upon awakening, I drink at least 1 liter of water in the first hour. Really important because everyone gets dehydrated when sleeping.
- During the day I drink enough water so that my pee is light straw colored. Anything dark means means dehydration. If you don’t have to pee at least once every 1-2 hrs that means dehydration
- 6 hours before the workout I start my workout hydration. I start drinking on glass of water every half hour. When I have to pee every 30 minutes and its clear, I’m at optimal hydration and I back off on the water. Once hydrated, I drink one glass of water per hour till workout time.
This hydration strategy is not only for lifting weights but for sports as well. If you want to perform at your peak in hot summer weather, you gotta be fully hydrated before you set foot on the soccer field!
Now lets talk about sports beverages. The point of them is that that they help replenish salt and other electrolytes lost during sweating. Well, if you are eating food then you are getting enough salt anyway so water is fine. The only place the expense of these drinks justifies them in my opinion is during endurance events like triathlons or marathons because in these events, food is rarely consumed and athletes sweat profusely.
ScienceDaily (Aug. 23, 2010)
Obesity (2010) 18 2, 300–307. doi:10.1038/oby.2009.235
Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research:
March 2008 – Volume 22 – Issue 2 – pp 455-463
Sports Science p 64, 65