One of the most common themes we see and hear, time and time again, amongst coaches, clients and athletes who are looking for insight into their nutrition is that they are not taking in enough water.
You’ve probably heard it before. But it’s worth reiterating.
Our bodies are made up of water—the brain is composed of 95% water; blood is 82% water; the lungs are nearly 90% water. Water is the most critical nutrient for human nourishment, growth, and development. In order for that fluid-rich body of yours to flourish, let alone perform at your peak in the gym, it needs water.
Ok, ok. You get it. You know it. Water truly does a body good.
Although drinking water doesn’t provide energy the same way fats or carbohydrates do, it is a vital platform for energy reactions and metabolic processes to take place. Without enough water intake pre (and post) workout, you and your clients easily become dehydrated, lethargic, cramp more often, suffer in work capacity, strength and endurance.
Additionally, high-quality H2O is necessary for building muscle, strength, and endurance. Muscles are made primarily of water, and therefore, require water in order to be at their optimal peak. By consuming water, you not only help your body with easier delivery of nutrients and electrolytes to your cells and muscles. Lastly, water consumption helps remove waste and toxins from the muscles and body, meaning improved recovery. Learn how to create nourishment plans specific to your clients’ needs here.
What type? Types of water? You didn’t even know there was really such thing. Like food, water quality is just as important in relation to the type you consume. After all, there is a tremendous difference in a McDonald’s Big Mac with Grade D ground beef versus a grass-fed, organic beef patty grilled to perfection on your grill. Unfortunately, toxic chemicals in our water supply are fairly common. In fact, a 5-year study from the Environmental Working Group (2009) of the quality of water in most major American cities revealed “a total of 316 contaminants in water supplied to 256 million Americans in 48,000 communities in 45 states.
According to the data, among the contaminants were 202 chemicals that aren’t subject to any government regulation or safety standards for drinking water.” That being stated, what type of water should you drink then?! The best way to avoid water toxins is to simply filter them out yourself. This purification process is easy to do with the dozens of water filters on the market now. Opt to drink out of glass, ceramic, or stainless steel containers rather than plastic as plastic cups and water bottles contain BPA and other environmental pollutants.
Drinking water throughout the day will keep you from feeling water-logged. Upon waking, I like to make it a goal to consume 16 ounces of water in order to get the body’s energy stores, metabolic and digestive processes rolling after a 7-8 hour hiatus during your sleeping hours. Learn this morning ritual here.
Surrounding exercise, be mindful to drink at least 4-8 ounces before, during and then immediately following exercise. We have all been guilty of not wanting to drink much around exercise because it makes us need to pee, but suck it up. Just do it—take your pre-workout pee break before your workout and feel the power of water make you shine.
That is the million-dollar question, now isn’t it—especially when it comes to athletes the tried and true ‘rule of thumb’ that has been touted for years is “8 cups per day”, but is that really the case? Probably not if you are an active individual.
We recommend, aiming for 1/2 an ounce per body weight, due to the amount of fluid you are losing through sweat and perspiration. Everybody has different intake needs so this number isn’t hard and fast. Depending on your size and perspiration rate, you lose about four cups of water per hour of exercise. Learn how much water a fitness enthusiast should consume vs. an athlete here.
Additionally, you lose about four cups per day through respiration (most individuals) on any given day and another 6 cups per day through elimination. Therefore, you need not only the ‘baseline’ minimum to replenish lost stores, but those extra ounces to make up for the extra lost water during your training sessions. Numbers aside, listening to your thirst (and also your hunger signals) are most definitely an indicator that you are thirsty. In fact, often times a growling stomach or light headache in the afternoon doesn’t mean we need a power snack—but instead some water.
When it boils down to it there is no hard and fast rule for how much water you or your client should consume. That is why it is so crucial to conduct client assessments and intakes. Learn how to conduct a client assessment and get a client intake form when you sign up for The Free 7-Day OPEX Coaching Course. Learn how to conduct assessments today and make sure your clients are hydrated.