Hydration

It seems like there are thousands of things involved in creating a strong, muscular, and lean physique. But before you go searching out obscure training protocols, fat loss diets, or trends, let’s focus in on the basics. As with most things, The 80/20 rule applies to your progress where 80% of your success comes from getting the basics right, and maybe 20% comes from those extra tips, tricks, advanced techniques, and supplements. So, today let’s talk about how to get the most out of your fitness journey with the simplest ingredient possible: water.

In so many cases amongst athletes trying to make a weight class or people just living a fitness lifestyle, there is a lot of confusion about water and it’s role in athletics. Wrestlers and strength athletes will restrict water and use saunas to drop a few pounds to make weight, and over-the-counter diuretic pills are used widely in an effort to see a smaller number on the scale. But what is that really doing to your body? It’s reducing your performance, impeding muscle function, and reducing muscle fullness. Not to mention it makes you feel constantly thirsty and uncomfortable. 

But a lower number on the scale doesn’t mean that you’re leaner, and it’s false metric to use when measuring your weight loss journey because you will only look worse and be less efficient at losing body fat. Don’t cut off your nose to spite your face! Water is an amazing tool that can help you gain muscle size and fullness and lose body fat faster. 

Why is water so essential? Well, to put it simply, water is a bit like the oil in your car. A fresh oil change will have your car running smoothly and efficiently, but if you burn off your oil, your car can overheat, seize up, and ruin your engine. Water keeps our joints, muscles, and organs all working smoothly, and helps filter waste.


What does water do?

  • It transports glucose and oxygen through the blood into your muscles, which not only regulates blood sugar, but fills your muscles with fuel to train.
  • Aids in Digestion.
  • Filters out toxins and waste with the help of the liver and kidneys.
  • Regulates body temperature via sweating to keep you from overheating

Not only does water help with these vital functions, but without it, you won’t get a good pump in the gym and your muscles will quite literally be deflated. Dehydration inhibits recovery, force production, endurance, and increases the risk of injury during exercise. And studies have shown that over 40% of people who exercise at the gym are in a partially dehydrated state when they train.1 So don’t be one of those people!

Alright, I think we get it. Water is important. So, what are some ways we can stay hydrated so get the most our of our performance, appearance and health? And more importantly, how much water do you need to stay hydrated?

You need about 90oz if you’re a woman, and 125oz if you’re a man, as a rule of thumb. However if you’re very active, live in a hot climate, or just tend to sweat a lot, you may need to drink more than that. Typically, if your urine is clear, you’re good to go. It’s best to drink fluids consistantly throughout the day and have 2-3 cups prior to training and 2-3 cups during your training to replenish what you have lost in sweat. If you have trouble drinking plain water, you can throw some Epic Aminos in your gallon jug to give it some flavor and extra benefits. 

SUPER HYDRATION TIPS


Salt your Food

Sodium binds with water and in essence, helps you hold onto water. Depending on your situation, this can be very beneficial to your look and performance, and if you’re drinking plenty of fluids, you don’t run much of a risk of getting bloated. So, if you’re being seduced by idea that you are holding water and need to cut out salt, don’t buy into it!

Along with Potassium and calcium and other minerals, salt is an electrolyte that helps your body maintain proper fluid balance and avoid cramps. That’s why they’re in all those sports drinks. It’s important. Some bodybuilders have even been known to take some sodium before they train just to ensure hydration for the training window.


Glycerol

Glycerol sounds like a dangerous chemical but really its just a natural compound that helps pull fluid into the muscle cell for a “hyper hydration” effect that can improve your pumps and vascularity. Do not use Glycerol as a reason to not drink enough water, but think of it as an all-natural addition to your pre-workout Carnage. 


Eat Your Carbs

There’s a reason they are called carbohydrates. Each gram of glycogen, the most broken-down form of carbohydrates, carries 3 grams of water with it. So, when you eat enough carbohydrates and drink enough water, your muscles become filled up, allowing your to perform at a higher level in the gym with increased force production and give your muscles a rounder, larger appearance. This is exactly the reason that people see such great success in weight loss at the beginning of a keto diet, and then their progress slows — They just lost all that water being held in the muscles, which is easily mistaken for fat when the scale is the only measurement for weight loss success. 


DRINK UP

The big take-away here is that you should always focus on staying appropriately hydrated and don’t let the scale fool you. If you need to lose body fat, focus on that, but trying to lose water weight will only hinder your results in the long run. Cheers!


1https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16770361/

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