How Much Water Should I Be Drinking?

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Water. It's such a simple thing, but will you actually drink enough of it today?

One of the easiest, most basic things you can do for your body is drink water and the reasons to do so are endless! I could go on about the benefits of drinking water (ask any of my former clients, it's one of the first questions I ask when consulting about diet).

I know you've heard the statistic of your body being comprised of 70-80% water, but have you really thought about it? If you really think about the fact that over three quarters of our bodies are made up of water, you see just how important it is to make sure you’re getting enough water every day. We cannot maintain good health without this proper ratio, there is nothing more important for us to put into our bodies.

Well, with that said, how much water should you drink? Whenever I used to say in a Contest Prep Seminar that athletes who were three weeks out from a competition might be drinking as much as three gallons of water a day, there were always a lot of sighs and sideways glances. That’s a lot of water!

Since most of us aren’t anywhere close to three weeks out from stepping on stage in a sparkly suit, a general guideline to go by is to drink half your body weight, in ounces, per day to achieve MINIMUM water replacement. That number will only go up as you do things throughout the day to metabolize that water.

Most of you, whether you’re in prep, offseason or taking some time off from competing, are probably sticking to some sort of workout plan which means you’re burning more calories, which increases your metabolism, which means your body is processing everything more efficiently,. Including your water.

The most simplistic thing increasing your water will do is make you feel more full. When you feel like you're hungry, possibly before you're scheduled to eat, stop a moment and think about it, are you really just thirsty? Water is also, in my terms, is a transporter. In simplistic terms, it moves things in, around and out of your body. When you eat your meal, it transports important nutrients to the locations your body needs them. When you're body is in a deprivation state, it will help the body to metabolize and transport nutrients needed to keep going. When your body has accumulated toxins, primarily acidic waste in your digestive system, water will help transport these nasty chemicals out of your body.

The best way to start your day off is by rehydrating as soon as you wake up. Your body has fasted from water for many hours at this point so before you pull yourself out from under the covers, reach for the water bottle you so diligently placed there before going to bed and chug a lug! This early morning hydration not only gets your body's gears in motion, but it also sets you up to be thirsty throughout the rest of the day. You have given your body what it needs, it will start doing it's work and ask for more! If you don't hydrate, your body will conserve water and not push it through you.

The next thing I commonly hear from people is, "I don't like the taste of water." My answer to that is to take some advice from Nike and "Just do it!" If the taste of water isn’t your motivation to drink it, there are plenty of other reasons to help light your fire. It will help you reach your physique goals, you’ll feel better, your skin will look better, you’ll be able to run faster, push more weight and recover faster.

So if you need a solution to the boring taste problem, there’s plenty of options. Add different fruits to your water to flavor it such as cucumbers, strawberry or mint (not a fruit but you get the idea). Use store bought water flavorings, just try to find ones without artificial sweeteners. Use essential oils to flavor your water. Squeeze some lemon or lime into your water. Treat yourself with a LaCroix flavored sparkling water (there’s nothing in them) here and there. Or even try just plain sparkling water.

If you’e training for a show and need to be drinking up to three gallons each day, here's a couple of tips on getting it done:

  • Bring a gallon jug to work with you and mark it with a permanent marker so you know how much you need to drink by a certain time of day.

  • Set a reminder on your whatever calendar you use on your phone for every few hours that tells you how much water you should have consumed by that time of day.

  • Keep rubber bands on your liter water bottle and move one to your wrist every time you finish a liter so you know how much you've had to drink.

Remember, if you’re drinking caffeine that’s like drinking negative water so make sure to drink extra water to make up for that!

Still a bit fuzzy? Drink a glass of water and then re-read, cheers!