By: Corbin Williams, NPTI-CPT
Personal Trainer/Nutrition Coach
Water, what is so special about this liquid that has no taste and no color and no caloric value? What does it do for you? How much water is enough? Is drinking it the only way to get water? How can water help in your exercise or
weight loss goals? These are all good questions that demand an answer.
What is water?
Water is the most vital nutrient to human life. Without water you will die. But why? Your body is made up of mostly water. 50 -60 % to be exact. This water fills all the membrane and cellular areas inside the body. This is where all processes necessary to life are sustained. Water is also used by many other functions of the body.
Why is water so important for your body?
The function of water in our body is simple, to sustain life. Water is needed in your body more than any other thing.
You can go a long time without eating food but you will not survive long at all without water. Most people today are dehydrated. You may not even know that you are dehydrated. If you lose only 2% total body weight, then you will start to feel the effects of dehydration (headache, thirst, dry mouth, dizziness). There are so many other liquids that we consume, other than water, most of which are full of impurities. ALL sodas, juice, coffee, energy drinks, and alcohol are not substitutes for water. These drinks ARE, however, the staple of most people’s diets, unfortunately. When these become used more than water our body slowly becomes dehydrated and starved for water. If you lose 20% or more of total body weight thru dehydration, then it is usually fatal.
How much water should you drink?
As an athlete (or anyone for that matter), water is the best choice to hydrate with. When drinking stuff like GatorAid and other energy type drinks, the number one ingredient is sugar. Sugar is a carbohydrate and will give you a burst of energy for a short time, but it is not the best choice to hydrate with. The recommended amount is about 8-9 glasses a day or (91-125 oz, more if you are pregnant or nursing). But if you are working out four times a week (and you should make this your goal) then you should drink more water. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends 13.5 -20 oz of water 2-3 hours before you exercise and 5-12oz at 15-20 minute intervals during
exercise. Be aware that you don’t have to sweat to become dehydrated. Ok so how can you drink that much all
day? You don’t have to.
Where is all that extra water going to come from then?
FOOD!! This is the other vital source to get your water from. Fresh fruits and fresh vegetables are full of water. About 19% of your total water intake comes from food. Increase how much fresh foods you are eating and you will increase your water intake. Take things like packaged foods and processed foods and drinks out of your diet and you will begin to feel much better as well. There is little to no water in these and mostly full of chemicals that your body has a very hard time processing. Just remember that the reason you are trying to work out four times a week is too lose some pounds or inches around your waist. Make that a little easier by eating right and flushing out all those chemically produced foods and drinks. If you can’t recognize what is on the label as food then it is NOT food. Don’t eat science projects. Know your food and know where it comes from. Also know where your water comes from and what is added to it. Research the chemicals that treatment plants add to your water. If in doubt get a carbon and fiber water filter for your tap. Take it upon yourself to make sure the water you are drinking is truly pure and good. But still at the end of it all, choose water FIRST over all the other available drinks out there.
Last but not least, how does water help with your weight loss or training?
It has many functions but there are four that are helpful to your training. Water is a solvent, transporter, thermoregulation, and lubricator. How do these help? As a solvent it helps provide a place for all chemical reactions in your body. This is vital for good muscle movement as well as to dissolve other not so desirable substances in the body. As a transporter it helps circulate blood and other various secretions and tissue fluids. It also transports the toxins out of the body. Thermoregulation is important in keeping your body cool during your workout. Sweat is your body cooling system. It is not an indicator of how many calories you are burning so there is no need to try to sweat more during your exercise. This will only lead to dehydration if you do. Help retain that water and dress accordingly for exercise. Don’t use a sweat suit in the hot summer. Remember, only 2% of weight lost from water causes dehydration. Finally as a lubricant it helps keep your joints in working order. Keeping the tissues in the joints hydrated helps with smooth movements and prevents injury from friction. So as you can see if any of these four
functions stop or decrease then you will extremely limit your exercise ability therefore you will have a much harder time reaching your goal.
So what you have learned from this is that WATER is the most important nutrient to your body. Without it you will die. Keep it balanced and don’t substitute it with other things. Always choose water for your hydration needs. Your body will thank you!! Where’s your WATER mustache??
Corbin Williams, NPTI-CPT
Certified Strength and Conditioning Coach
Certified Nutrition Coach
Graduated from the National Personal Training Institute
Owner of GetReal Training, LLC
GetReal and Get Results