As Lead Fluid Engineer for The Mud Dogs, Bobby Boucher knew a thing or two about proper hydration and the benefits that high quality H2O brought to his athletes. In fact, some research suggests the reason he was able to hit so hard himself was due to being fully hydrated all the time…but don’t quote me on that. Though he has long since hung up his water cups, it’s time we took a page out of his playbook and dive a little deeper into why hydration is so important. When meeting new clients for nutrition consultations, one of the first things I encourage folks to do is increase the amount of water they are consuming. Most people do this without question, but some folks seem a little skeptical at first. Why would hydration make a difference when it comes to weight loss? Well, I’m going to give you a peak behind the curtain and touch on why this seemingly simple recommendation is at the top of my list.
Ice Cold Facts About Water
Without water, you’ll die. Without question, it is THE basic necessity for life. The average female’s bodyweight consists of around 45-50% water, with males in the range of 50-60%. That means that a 200 pound male is about 120 pounds of water. Water is not a substance that can be created or stored in the body, so it’s important that you are making a conscious effort to replenish it.
Water is responsible for transporting nutrients to cells, removing waste products, and lubricating tissues. Additionally, it plays a huge role in joint health, literally acting as a cushion between them to dampen stresses and strains. Hydration also plays a role in regulating body temperature; as you workout and expend energy, that energy is released as heat and in response our body starts to sweat. This cooling mechanism is water leaving the body in the form of sweat, and just like old coach told you, you need to replenish that lost moisture.
Does Water Really, Really Suck?
Of equal importance to hydration is balancing out fluid intake with electrolytes. The most common electrolytes that are lost are sodium and chloride (aka…salt). The easiest way to ensure you are getting enough of these electrolytes is to simply salt your food. This doesn’t mean you salt like a waiter grating parmesan at the Olive Garden, but it is important to salt your food to taste at every meal.
We also get water from the foods that we eat. Fruits and veggies are naturally higher in water, whereas fat dense foods like nuts and seeds don’t have a high water content. A constant goal I set for my clients is to eat the rainbow in fruits and vegetables every day; this serves the dual purpose of getting in a variety of micronutrients while getting water from foods, aiding in hydration.
Losing more than 2% of your body weight during physical activity can lead to a 15% decrease in performance. Back to our 200 pound example, this means that a 200 pound man only has to lose about 5 pounds of water weight before seeing a dip in output. And remember when I talked about water being used as a cushion between joints? It’s not just there either; hydrated muscles are also able to withstand force better than dehydrated muscles, meaning they are less likely to tear.
Not sure how much water to drink? Start out with half your body weight in ounces of water. Our 200 pound man example needs approximately 100 ounces of water in order to be properly hydrated. I recommend to my clients to pick up a 32 ounce water bottle and start with the goal of filling it up 3 times throughout the day. If the weather is really warm, you are doing physical activity, or sweating a lot, you are going to want to add in a couple extra glasses of water to replenish what you are losing. That being said, you still need to hydrate in the winter and on days you are not sweating a ton.
They Call it Mellow Yellow
The easiest way to tell if you are hydrated is the color of your urine. The goal is to have clear, light yellow urine (lemonade). If it is a golden color (apple juice), or you can smell it, you are definitely dehydrated. DRINK MORE WATER. Other easy indicators are having skin or becoming constipated…and no one wants to be backed up with dry skin.
Incorporating more water into your daily nutrition doesn’t have to be boring. If water on its own is too bland for you, add in lemon/citrus, mint, cucumber, berries to a pitcher of water and let it sit. There are endless amounts of combinations to infuse water. Don’t let lack of hydration be the reason you’re holding things back during the last game of the season! So water (@ingo_bee) you waiting for? Go get your favorite cup or water bottle, and have a cold one on me.
Samantha has been an athlete since childhood, focusing on gymnastics, track and field, and cross-country. Samantha found CrossFit, and eventually CrossFit Football as a means to continue personal performance and fill a competitive void. These all led her to Power Athlete, the methodology course, and eventually to earning her Block One. She currently works in the greater Raleigh, North Carolina area as a Power Athlete Nutrition Coach and as a Personal Trainer applying the Power Athlete principles with all of her clients.
SUBSCRIBE TO OUR NEWSLETTER
Never miss out on an epic blog post or podcast, drop your email below and we’ll stay in-touch.