I’m going to answer this question, and a whole lot more, as we highlight the nutrition benefits of water.
This is day 5 in our 12 day series showcasing the top 12 superfoods to help you with your fitness and nutrition goals.
And yes, I know.
Water is a liquid and not a food.
But it’s such an important aspect to overall health, that it needs to be included in this superfood series.
Since we were kids, we’ve been told about the healthy benefits of drinking more water.
So the question is, why do so many people struggle with drinking adequate amounts of water?
For my body type and activity level, I personally drink between 3-4 liters of water a day.
Now that may seem like a lot, but it’s quite do able.
Especially since, as a kid I rarely drank water.
It wasn’t until my Live Lean transformation began in 2010 that I started drinking more water.
I’ll be sharing a few tips on how I started drinking more water throughout the day, in a little bit.
But first, lets talk about the body.
I always like to share the following stat:
Depending on your age and gender, your body is made up of 55-70% water, not 70% soda and fruit juice.
I mention this, because it’s staggering the difference in the amount of liquid calories versus water the general population consumes.
If weight loss is your primary goal, water should be one of your best friends.
Not only is it zero calories, but it’s essential to many other healthy functions in the body.
Every cell in your body requires water to operate efficiently.
If you continuously struggle with drinking water, starting today, make it a priority.
There are so many different opinions on how much water you should drink.
Various water intake recommendations include:
This recommendation tends to be on the low end, and comes from old and dated research completed back in the 1940’s. Newer research found that there is no relevant support to drinking this amount of water.
This is where you let thirst be your guide. However, the problem with that is, typically by the time you feel thirsty, you’re already in a dehydrated state.
This would be similar to drinking 1/2 – 1 cup of water every 15 minutes. This would obviously take water consumption to the extremes and is not practical, nor necessary, for most people. In fact, it can be dangerous, as detailed later in this post.
Next recommendation is the rough measure of how we like to calculate how much water to drink.
At the minimum, this is how much water in ounces you should drink a day.
For example, I’m 175 pounds.
So my water intake goal would be 175/2 = 87.5 ounces of water/day (approximately 2.5 liters of water).
However, based on my activity level (which is high), my climate (Southern California is warm), and my body type (I sweat), I need to drink more water.
As mentioned in the previous point, due to my body type, my activity level, and my climate, I need to consume more water.
If you’re similar to me, follow this water intake calculation method:
175 lbs x 0.7 = 122.5 ounces of water (approximately 3.5 liters of water).
This is why I personally aim between 3-4 liters of water per day.
But if I was less active, lived in a cold climate, and didn’t sweat often, the previous water calculation method of 2.5 liters would be sufficient.
As soon as you get up in the morning, drink your glass of lemon water.
By doing this simple positive habit, first thing in the morning, you’re creating the momentum to have a healthy day.
Side note, yes, I do count lemon water towards your water intake goals.
However, I don’t count the water in your coffee and tea towards your water goals.
Next, before every meal and snack throughout the day, drink a cup of water before you eat.
Not only will this help you drink more water, it can also help you lose weight.
The reason is, since water will take up room in your stomach, it increases the probability that you’ll eat less calories during the meal.
Just by following that simple tip alone, will drastically increase your water consumption.
Next, if you have an office job, ensure your bring a big, glass or metal, BPA free water bottle with you to work.
To reduce the risk of BPA toxin exposure, it’s important to avoid re-using old plastic water bottles.
BPA, which is a chemical linked to obesity, can leach from the plastic into your water, especially if it has been heated.
Always go with a glass or metal water bottle.
We love this water bottle brand.
Before you start your work day, go to the water cooler, fill it up, and place it right beside your computer.
If throughout the day, you’re super busy and forget to drink your water, set a water drinking alert in your smart phone for every two hours.
Also, always remember to bring your water bottle with you in your car, when you go to the gym, and when you’re watching TV at home.
Just by having it in visual sight, you’ll drink more.
Those are just a few practical tips to help remind you to drink more water.
It’s just that simple.
It’s best if you at least use a water filtration system, like a Brita, as it can help remove the most harmful toxins.
We have a water filtration system on our fridge, and that works for us.
Straight up answer, yes.
To keep the tissues in your body hydrated, your body needs a sufficient amount of electrolytes.
Electrolytes help your muscles contract.
Without them, your heart would stop pumping.
Two of the most common electrolytes are sodium and potassium.
When the electrolyte concentration in your body is out of balance, the water you consume, and the electrolytes in your body, will quickly be excreted (i.e. pee’d out).
This is when drinking too much water, can deplete your body of these electrolytes, which then leads to dehydration.
To ensure your body maintains a proper concentration of electrolytes, always focus on eating a lot of water rich, raw vegetables, and some fruit.
Also replace sports drinks with a natural electrolyte rich drink, like coconut water.
After calculating your water intake goals, if you’re not even close to drinking that amount, start slow.
Start by drinking an extra 4-8 ounces of water per day, until you build up to your daily water goal.
Come back tomorrow for fitness superfood #6.
Brad Gouthro is the founder of Live Lean TV, a media company focused on helping men and women “Live Lean” 365 days a year. Brad’s programs and content have helped millions of people all over the world learn how to get in shape, and more importantly, sustain it for life.