- 1 Water and Muscle Building
- 2 Water and Fat Burning
- 3 How Much Water Should You Be Drinking?
- 4 Should You Drink Water Even If You’re Not Thirsty?
- 5 Can You Get Too Much Water?
- 6 All Liquids Are Not Equal
- 7 Now That You’re “Drinking Heavily”, What Other Great Things Do You Need To Take In?
By the way… drink water.
One thing everyone agrees on is that regardless of your diet, regardless of your bodybuilding goals, you should be drinking a great deal of water.
Water makes up 60-70 percent of your body weight (70-75% of your muscle weight). It plays a vital role not only in maintaining good health, but in your ability to gain muscle and burn fat.
Unfortunately, few bodybuilding trainers understand how important water is to their goals. By underestimating water, you could be leaving gains unrealized and unnecessarily putting your health at risk.
Water acts as a transport for all types of nutrients and minerals…
So, what good will it do if you put great things into your body but don’t provide it with a way to distribute those nutrients to your muscles?
Water and Muscle Building
Outside of the obvious fact that muscle is largely made up of water and the important role water plays in transporting micronutrients to the muscles, good hydration can also lead to better workouts.
Studies have shown that lactic acid build-up is quicker to occur in those not well hydrated. Dehydration can also increase cramping and increase cortisol (muscle destroying hormone) production.
Therefore, drinking water can help you to have a more intense and productive workout.
Water and Fat Burning
Good hydration will help your kidneys cope with the extra toxins generated by the extra protein (and, potentially, creatine) in weight gain diets. These wastes need to be dissolved in water.
If the kidneys do not have enough water to handle the waste removal load, they can turn to the liver for help. This is not a good thing as one of the liver’s duties is to metabolize fat for energy. When the liver is helping the kidneys, it isn’t metabolizing fat.
In other words, a properly hydrated body will burn more fat tissue.
How Much Water Should You Be Drinking?
The standard recommendation is that everyone should get 64 oz. of water a day. On a high protein diet and participating in an intense weight training program you should try and get even more.
A good goal to aim for is one eight-ounce glass of water for every 10-12.5 lbs. of bodyweight.
So, if you weigh 150 lbs., you should be drinking 12-15 glasses of water a day (150/12.5 = 12, 150/10 = 15). The best way to get to your water intake goals is by starting the day off with a glass of water immediately upon waking. From there, continuously sipping rather than gulping every once in a while is the best course to take.
The Urine Test
While the above formula can be used as a starting point to maintaining a well-hydrated state, it is flawed as an end-all guide. As we are all unique, with differences in sweat production and other factors we all have unique requirements for water.
The best way to judge whether or not you are providing the body with adequate water is to watch the color of your urine.
Your morning urine may have slight color (straw-like) to it but the rest should appear relatively clear in color. Dark urine tells you that your water intake needs to be increased.
Should You Drink Water Even If You’re Not Thirsty?
Don’t make the mistake of believing that you only need water when you’re thirsty. Your body can become dehydrated without any symptoms, whether on the hottest summer day or the coldest day of winter.
You lose water through…
- Perspiration (not just the kind you see, but continual “invisible” perspiration as well)
- Waste Removal
Water loss increases with hot weather, necessitating greater intake and emphasis on water, but keeping properly hydrated should be a year-round priority.
Most people walk around in some state of dehydration all the time. Symptoms such as fatigue, memory problems, focus, constipation and headaches, just to name a few, can often be traced to a lack of water. Additionally, digestive problems can often be aided or even cured by simply increasing water intake.
Can You Get Too Much Water?
Water intoxication (hyponatremia) is a condition where so much water is consumed that sodium levels in the blood decrease. In this case, excess water can enter the blood and initiate fluid build-up in the brain. Symptoms are often similar to severe dehydration – dizziness and headaches – which can make the condition particularly problematic.
This condition primarily occurs in the following circumstances:
- Those with a serious medical condition (i.e. uncontrolled diabetes)
- Those experimenting with illegal drugs (i.e. ecstasy)
- Those with a major psychiatric disorder (i.e. schizophrenia)
- Those acclimating to an extremely hot climate
- In endurance athletes (i.e. marathoners)
Outside of these circumstances, water intoxication is extremely rare and not a good reason to avoid drinking water at the reasonable levels suggested above.
All Liquids Are Not Equal
Outside of a post-workout sports drink to replace lost sodium and electrolytes, the focus of your liquid consumption should be on plain old water.
Five glasses of juice, five glasses of soda, and five beers won’t equate 15 glasses of water. To process the sugars, the body needs water. With a soda and the like, you are basically quenching a thirst only to then recreate that thirst.
Water is that important. Not drinking enough will affect your ability to gain weight and build muscle fast. Whether tap or bottled. Whether thirsty or not. Just… Drink Your Water.
Now That You’re “Drinking Heavily”, What Other Great Things Do You Need To Take In?
To read more about the calorie-producing macronutrients you need distributed (if your goal is building muscle), check out the pages on Protein, Carbohydrates and Fat (EFAs).
Also, check out the micronutrients page: Best Bodybuilding Supplements: Multi-Vitamins???.
Couple more articles you may like…
Diet To Gain Weight: How Much of What to Eat?
Find the guidelines for picking the best macronutrient ratios and the calculations to perform in order to get your muscle diet mapped out.
The Weight Gain Plan (Pt. 1): The ‘Big Four’ Factors for Success
Learn these 4 factors that can mean the difference between success and muscle building failure.