At the gym you’ve probably seen the big, beefy guys and fully defined ladies lugging around jugs of water. You know the kind you usually only buy when you’re stocking up for a natural disaster? Well, it may look a little ridiculous, but these muscle heads might be on to something.
A gallon of water for one workout seems a bit overkill, but dehydrated muscles are weak muscles. A study discussed in “Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research” reported that a 1.5% water loss resulted in decreased muscle strength during the one-rep-max bench press. H2O is also an important factor in protein synthesis. To ensure your muscles have enough protein to build and grow stronger, be sure you’re replenishing with water after your workouts, too.
Be fluid enough
The old recommendation was eight, 8-ounce glasses a day. That may be sufficient for a sedentary person, but you’re a go-getter! An active body like yours will probably need 1/2 – 1 ounce of water for each pound of body weight per day. If you’re training regularly, follow this baseline formula:
Low-end of range = body weight (lbs) x 0.5 = fluid (ounces)/day
High-end of range = body weight (lbs) x 1 = fluid (ounces)/day
This means a 150-pound athlete-in-training will need about 75 ounces, or 2.2 liters, daily.
How to get your gallon (or so)
Begin every morning with a large glass of water, regardless if you’re training or taking a rest day. I recommend to my clients that they try to drink one cup of water every 15 minutes while exercising. For those athletes who train intensely every day and sweat a lot, you will need to replace electrolytes with a sports drink. My favorite electrolyte replacements are Ultima Replenisher Drink in Red Raspberry and Emergen-C Blue Fizzy Drink Mix in Triple Berry. And don’t forget fruits and vegetables can be loaded with water (especially pineapple, oranges and cucumber). These count toward your water intake, as does your daily coffee and tea addiction.
Drink to your health
I used to be one of those gym-goers who always had a gallon of water with me. Then came the hoopla over the ill-effects of BPA in plastics. So you don’t risk your health for your hydration, invest in a few BPA-free bottles. The New Wave Enviro Eastar holds just the right amount of fluid you need in a day (2.2 liters) and has a handle for easy carrying.
Jennifer Nicole Lee is an International fitness model, best-selling author and motivational speaker who has appeared on Oprah, CBS The Early Show, Inside Edition, E! Entertainment and Fox and Friends. She is the author of the The Fun Fit Foodie Cookbook and was named one of the “Three Top Females in the Fitness Industry” of 2011 by Yahoo Sports. Check out her health and fitness tips and videos exclusively on the Vitacost Blog.