One of the best pieces of advice I can give you to help you achieve for fitness goals is something you have probably heard since you were a kid, and it still remains true today. You can work hard in the gym, you can try different programs, you can do all of the workout videos you can find, but none of that will be as beneficial as this piece of advice. It takes hardly any effort and can be done at almost any point of the day, but yet millions of people still don’t do it. Yes, I am talking about drinking enough water.
Every year I joke that my New Year’s resolution will be to “drink more water,” but in all honesty, it’s a really good resolution to have. Our bodies NEED water, and the benefits are endless. We all have probably heard of the countless benefits of water including improving energy, healthier skin, increased brain function, and overall organ and muscular health, but did you know that is also essential with weight loss, muscle growth, and joint health?
Think of it this way, your body is estimated to be around 75% water, which is mostly in your organs, such as your brain, your blood, and your muscles. If your muscles are dehydrated, they will not be able to contract, grow, or repair to their fullest potential. So although you may be putting in the work at the gym, you may not be getting the most out of your workouts. We need to give our bodies the right amount of water to work at its peak potential.
How much water should I be drinking?
Different studies have different findings, however they all agree that we should be having at least 64oz of water a day (8 cups). Because we are exercising regularly, and we need more water to help with muscle growth, repair, and replenishing their bodies, I like to tell my clients that they should be having AT LEAST half of their bodyweight in ounces per day, but to aim closer to 75%, or in some cases more. I weigh 180lbs, therefore my minimum amount of water intake is 90oz of water, but I usually aim for 120-140oz of water a day. (Tip: If half your bodyweight goes below 64oz, keep 64oz as your minimum, and if half your bodyweight goes over 128oz, keep 1 gallon (128oz) as your goal).
But what about “water weight”? If I drink more water, won’t I weigh more?
Believe it or not, the more water you drink, the less water your body will retain. When you are dehydrated, your body goes into survival mode and holds onto as much water as it can to support your body functions. You are not properly flushing and replacing the water in your system which then can lead to a bloated feeling. By drinking water, we are replacing the fluids in our bodies efficiently and our body will not need to hold on to that extra “water weight.”
How does drinking water help with weight loss?
As explained above, by drinking water we are flushing out our systems and giving our bodies the fluids they need to build and grow. Water can also help with weight loss in numerous ways, but most importantly:
Drinking water regularly throughout the day and before you eat can curb your appetite to help you avoid overeating.
Replacing sugary drinks with water will lower you caloric intake.
Drinking water supports your metabolism and increases the amount of calories you may be burning in a resting state.
How can water help my joint pain?
Although drinking water won’t cure any serious joint issues, we can help prevent any issues by hydrating our bodies. When we are hydrated, our joints are able to stay lubricated and produce synovial fluid (necessary for joint health). Drinking water can also reduce inflammation in all areas of your bodies, including your joints.
I could honestly go on for hours about the benefits of staying hydrated, but I wanted to at least mention some of the key reasons water is so important for active individuals. Look out for challenges coming your way soon. We will be tackling some common health issues, like staying hydrated, with some easy and fun challenges that will promote healthy lifestyle habits.