I remember back to when I was in college and took on a challenge to chug water for an hour. And then another time when I was getting ready for a bodybuilding show and went overboard, drinking 3 gallons of water per day, until I felt my heart slow to a crawl. Both times, I literally became intoxicated and developed hypernatremia, flushing out all my electrolytes and throwing the whole balance of my body off. While excessive and I don’t recommend drinking water like that, it nevertheless shows you that I have had a unique interest in hydration and performance for a number of years.
Being optimally hydrated is crucial to your health. Here are the main reasons why:
- Roughly 95% of our muscles are made up of water. Although some of that consists of glycogen (3 grams water to one gram of carbohydrate), compare that number to the fact that muscles are actually only made up of .05 amino acid
(protein). Water is literally the most natural anabolic substance we put into our body. Under-hydrated = unmet potential of muscular strength and growth.
- Our bodies are built for survival, first and foremost. One of the reasons you
will feel so nasty when you have the flu is because your cells aren’t hydrated. Think about how you feel in that situation and then think about trying to lose body fat while not drinking enough water. It simply won’t happen. And, our livers are the biggest fat burning organs in the body, providing the role of detoxing the cells. Our kidneys normally deal with the waste when optimally hydrated. But, if you aren’t optimally hydrated, the liver will have to assume the role of the kidneys and
put its fat burning responsibilities on hold.
- Our bodies are connected by a thick, plastic like sheath encompassing the entire muscular system, otherwise known as myofascia. If you are dehydrated, all of
your soft tissue (tendons, ligaments, muscles) will not contract, slide or have
the extensibility that they should have to function optimally.
Ok, so how do you know if you are dehydrated? One way would be to look at urination color. If its dark, you are dehydrated. Another way would be to press down for 5-10 seconds on the flat side of your tibia bone. Once you pull away, if there is still an indent, it’s a good sign that you are dehydrated. For those people that are more advanced athletes or more advanced in the weight room, you will also develop the ability to intuitively know if you are optimally hydrated or not. A simple place to start would be to multiply your body weight in pounds times 2/3 and start with that number of water in ounces. From there, adjust upwards as thirst dictates.
Don’t slack on the easy thing because the easy things make for much better results.