Water is just as essential to your fitness results as your diet and can highly influence your workout outcomes. That’s right, plain and simple water. Despite its importance, many of us find it challenging to get enough of it each day.
You see, lack of water leads to dehydration. Dehydration hinders workout performance, decreases lifts, causes cramping and decreases workout intensity. In fact, just a 2% loss of body fluids from sweat results in a performance decrease of up to 20%! Even mild dehydration can zap energy levels—making you feel sluggish and tired. Need more reasons to start drinking more water? Keep reading…
Transports Nutrients. Water is the key component of blood, which transports oxygen, nutrients and hormones throughout the body. This transport is critical when it comes to delivering important nutrients to stimulate muscle building and recovery and oxygen to cells to fuel aerobic and anaerobic performance.
Metabolizes Food. Without water, we could not dissolve, circulate or transfer metabolized food throughout the body. Water helps with digestion of carbohydrates and excretion of excess nitrogen from protein.
Supplements. Water can help drive nutrients into the muscle cells where they can be used to perform a function or stimulate a pathway. One good example of a supplement that requires transport of water is creatine. Without it, creatine cannot move into the muscle cells where it can help to generate ATP or muscle energy.
Joint Lubrication. Water is needed to support the cartilage tissue around the ends of bones. When cartilage is well-hydrated, the two opposing surfaces glide freely minimizing friction between them.
Regulates Fat Metabolism. Water helps assist in the transport of released fatty acids from fat stores to be burned off as energy. Water also assists in regulating your metabolism and body temperature.
Controls Appetite. Drinking plenty of water will not only keep you hydrated, it will always keep you feeling full. Thirst is often mistaken for hunger. In fact, research has shown that individuals who drank at least two glasses of water before a meal, ate between 75 to 90 fewer calories at the meal than those who didn’t.
TRAINING HYDRATION TIPS
Now that you understand the importance of water, be sure you get enough of it! If you are not sure how much you need, here are a few tips:
– Ensure you are hydrated prior to exercise; consume water throughout the day, and several hours prior to exercise.
– Drink 15 – 20 oz of water 2 – 3 hours before exercise and drink 8 – 10 oz, 10 – 15 min before exercise.
– Continue to hydrate during workouts by drinking 8 – 10 oz every 10 -15 min during exercise.
– If exercising longer than 90 minutes, drink 8 – 10 oz of a sport drinks containing minerals and no more than 8% carbohydrate every 15 – 30 minutes. This will help replace the sodium lost through sweat and ensure electrolyte balance, which is needed for muscle contraction.
– Post workout, the goal is to fully replace any lost fluids, which can be done not just through water but also through consumption of other foods and beverages that have high water content. Food provides about 20 percent of total water intake, particularly from fruits and vegetables, which can be up to 90 percent or more water by weight.
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