When it comes to drinking in the gym, I notice a lot of people drinking whilst they train, taking pre-workout and post-workout drinks. If you are confused as to what, how much you should be drinking. and at what time? By the end of this post you should have a clear idea of how much you should be drinking.
An article by Ned Tijdschr Geneeskd, 2010 and a few other papers state: the recommended total daily fluid intake is 3,000 ml for men and 2,200 ml for women. In our day to day lives we lose 500ml/ day through urination, exercise (sweat) this can be more especially in hot weather. So if you feel like sometimes you are not drinking enough i have some tips for you.
Our performance and hydration levels is linked. If you are in the gym and you are training for strength and power you might not feel the effects of dehydration. However if your are doing prolonged, endurance exercises the performance decline is more significant. This is linked to sweat and thirst which I will explain more a further down this post.
Here is some facts and tips to help you better hydrate yourself.
1. Consider starting small (500ml, 750ml, 1 litre - 2 litres)
If you have a big bottle like I suggest not filling it up to the top at the beginning because the immense size of the bottle might put you off if you struggle to finish the water and you may feel bad about it.
Starting off small is the best way the positive habit building technique into the subconscious especially if you are new to the gym. The trick is that you are running out of water and you have to constantly refill your bottle, the exact same rule applies to your body a it loses water through sweat and urination you become thirsty and feel the need to consume more fluid.
2. What type of workout or exercises are you doing.
If your are performing cardiovascular exercise (treadmill, running, cycling or rowing) its obvious that you get out of breath, your heart rate goes up and your your body temperature rises. This initiates vasodilation and the sweating mechanism which is the secretion of fluid. As the body adjusts the electrolyte-water balance you will naturally drink more drink more water.
3. Thirst is a physiological mechanism
It happens on an intracellular component. You most probably have heard someone mention that salt leads to water retention this is because an increase in sodium concentration in the cells stimulates specialised cells (osmoreceptors) which initiate the search for and the consumption of fluid, mainly water. In short More salt = more thirst, more thirst = more water
4. Alcohol & caffeine (diuretics) consumption
Diuretics are drinks which help the body promote urination, so if you want to lose water weight this can be a good hack only for a short while though because you do not want to reach the point of unpleasant dehydration. Disclaimer Alcohol is a toxic substance. Do you notice when you start drinking alcohol you start going to the toilet more regularly this is because your kidneys and your liver are working tirelessly to get rid of the toxins.
ADH (Antidiuretic hormone) is the hormone that helps regulate the amount of water in the body. It works opposite to the Coffee and Alcohol because it reduces the loss of fluid via the kidneys. For the best performance you want to avoid excessive consumption of caffeine and alcohol.
5. Electrolyte / mineral water
Research found that if your are exercising for more than 1:15 hrs you must consider drinking electrolyte drinks because they have shown to reduce exercise induced muscle fatigue and muscle cramps.
When I say to people in the gym you should have 2 litres of water a day it seems like a lot but when you look at the numbers and break it down, its not that bad. #numbersdontlie. We consume water via food, fruits and shakes that we have. If you add up the amount of water you consume for example:
Fruits and vegetables like watermelon, cucumber, watercress, tomatoes, apples, lettuce, celery you could easily incorporate these foods with your lunch.
Most pre or post workout drinks have to be mixed with at least 250mls of water so this will add up towards you 2000mls.
Your performance in the gym is affected by many different factors and water is one of them. If you want to perform well or lose weight optimal hydration is key. Last but not least the biggest benefit of drinking more water is that you will stay healthier and stop preventable conditions such as mood swings, headaches, kidney stones and constipation.
I urge you to drink more water.
Ned Tijdschr Geneeskd. 2010;154:A1757.PMID: 20356431 Dutch. [How much water do we really need to drink?].
Thornton, S., 2012. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 36(6), pp Thirst drives us to drink at least two litres of water a day. .585-585.
Murray, B., 2007. Hydration and Physical Performance. Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 26(sup5), pp.542S-548S.