Whether you're exercising daily, running a marathon, doing a one-day obstacle course or not being active at all, hydration is one of the most vital things for overall health.
With up to 60% of the whole human body being composed of water, to say that you need it to function properly is an understatement. When you're even mildly dehydrated ,your body is unable to function properly and can slow down different function to preserve itself. Not to mention if you're trying to lose weight or gain muscle mass, it's nearly impossible for your body to purge itself of waste without being properly hydrated.
Without considering exercise in your lifestyle at all, I always recommend drinking 50-75% of your body weight in ounces minimum.
This means if I weigh 150 pounds, I need to be drinking between 75-112 ounces of water daily.
Plus, if you live in a high and/or dry climate (like Colorado) you should be drinking an additional 32 ounces daily.
If you exercise, you should be drinking even more water since you'll be sweating and losing water. Sweating is the body's natural method for cooling down. The average person loses between 0.8-1.4 liters (or 27-47 ounces) of water per hour of exercise. During exercise, we need more water. The enhanced metabolic rate of muscle contraction requires a larger delivery of nutrients and oxygen along with faster waste and heat removal form the body.
I often tell my clients that if they've ever been knee deep in a workout and started feeling really crappy, chances are they were not properly hydrated going into the workout. If you've ever felt like your face and body are unable to cool down while you were exercising, that's dehydration. Without proper hydration, your body isn't able to sweat and you start to get that "I can't breathe, I'm so hot, my head might explode" feeling.
Here are a few tips to make sure you're hydrated leading up to your workout:
- One to two hours before your workout, drink 20 ounces of water. Then, 15 minutes before you begin, drink another 8 ounces of water.
- During your workout, you should be drinking approximately another 8 ounces.
Fun fact for you - losing just 2% of your body weight in fluid can decrease performance by up to 25%. So if the goal is to perform well and increase your capacity for work, you need to prepare by hydrating well.
A well-hydrated athlete feels stronger and can work out longer and more effectively. The heart does not have to work as hard to pump blood to the body, and oxygen and nutrients can be transported more efficiently to the muscles you’re working during exercise. That means you’re going to have more energy, and the same exercises you struggled with when dehydrated will seem much easier.
Even if all of your nutrition is out of whack, start with water. Allow your body to function the way it was meant to and build on that hydrated foundation.