Water doesn’t float your boat? Too bad. Drink it anyway.
As a personal trainer, when it comes to excuses, you can trust me when I tell you I’ve heard them all before. And when I tell my clients they need to be drinking more water, I always hear one of the following lines…
Drinking water makes me feel sick.
I don’t want to feel bloated.
I know I should be drinking water, but I can never think of it.
I can’t stand the taste of water.
It fills me up too much.
You know what? I’m not telling you to HYDRATE for the good of my health, people! You need water for your body to function properly. Proper hydration prevents fatigue and headaches. Hydration relieves joint pain and flushes out toxins from the body. If you are not well hydrated (known as “dehydration”), it can even make you prone to disease (more on that later).
Why is hydration so important?
Your body is 80% water. Really think about that for a minute. 80% of your body is water! That doesn’t leave a whole lot for other things. Water makes up almost 80% of your blood, 70% of your lean muscle, and more than 85% of your brain.
That right there should be enough to tell you why it’s so important to drink up. But if you’re still in denial, as you read on, you’ll find some facts that are pretty hard to swallow (see what I did there?).
So, how do you know if you might be dehydrated?
Time for a Quick Ten Test
- My urine is dark yellow (closer to the colour of apple juice than lemonade).
- I’m frequently thirsty.
- I often have muscle cramps.
- I feel tired more often than I should.
- I get chills for no reason.
- I don’t have much of an appetite.
- My skin is dry.
- I get pins and needles in my limbs.
- I get headaches a lot.
- My skin is often flushed.
If you answered yes to any of the following, there’s a chance that you’re experiencing some minor dehydration. Many people are mildly dehydrated.
Symptoms of more serious dehydration would include:
- Decrease in urination and sweating
- Rapid heart rate
- High body temperature
- Major fatigue
- Numbness in the limbs
- Headaches and muscle cramps
If you’ve lost 10% or more of your body fluids, you’re severely dehydrated and may experience:
- Abdominal and chest pain
- Difficulty breathing
- Painful urination
If you’re severely dehydrated, you may even lose consciousness. If you expect you’re severely dehydrated, you need to get yourself to a hospital.
We don’t want any of those things to happen to you. But, there are even more serious effects of dehydration.
Toxin flush. Without adequate hydration, your body can’t expel toxins properly. When those toxins are flushed out, sickness is flushed out. To stay healthy, drink more water!
Prevent pain. Drinking enough water prevents joint pain, headaches, and overall fatigue.
Stay lubed. Water keeps your whole system nice and lubricated, running as smoothly as possible.
Energy levels. When your body is hydrated properly, your bloodstream has more oxygen, leading to greater energy.
Disease prevention. If you keep on keeping on with your resistance to drinking water, you can end up with Chronic Cellular Dehydration. That means your body’s cells are dying of thirst. They’re weak and vulnerable. Dehydration can compromise your entire immune system, leading to imbalances in your body’s chemistry and pH levels, opening you up for all kinds of diseases.
Get slim. When your body is well hydrated, you burn more fat. Dehydration can also raise your body’s levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which causes you to store belly fat.
Hydration makes your skin glow, reduces your risk of developing colon cancer, and can keep your metabolism running smoothly. Water is key in muscle recovery, it replenishes electrolytes, and it reduces food cravings.
And if that wasn’t enough…
Dehydration puts unnecessary strain on the organs—especially the kidneys, due to a build up of toxins that occurs when there isn’t enough water to flush them out. Your brain doesn’t work as well when you’re dehydrated, and you can have constant brain fog. And if you’re playing sports outdoors, hiking, biking, or training in any way, dehydration can lead to heat stroke.
Now that we’ve covered the dangers of dehydration, let’s look at how to prevent it in the first place, shall we?
Tips for preventing dehydration
You need to drink half your body weight in ounces each day in order to remain adequately hydrated. That means, if you weigh 140 pounds, you need 70 ounces of water. That translates to almost nine 8oz glasses of water. Every. Single. Day. (And this water will preferably be at room temperature because cold water is hard on the system.)
If you’re an athlete, you need more. If you drink coffee, you need more.
Here are some tips for staying hydrated:
Drink 2 big glasses of water when you get out of bed in the morning.
Put lemon in your water to make it taste better (Not to mention all the great benefits of putting lemon in your water as lemon aids in digestion and has detox properties. ).
Get a great-looking water bottle, and drink from it all day long.
Set your alarm to go off at regular intervals through the day, reminding you to drink up.
Caffeine and alcohol dehydrate. Avoid caffeine before training unless you are drinking a lot of water with that coffee. Same goes for tea, energy drinks, or energy pills. Coffee, tea, and alcohol are considered diuretics, and they will dehydrate you. If you’re drinking a lot of these things and the scale is moving down, that loss is water and NOT fat.
How to hydrate for training
The more active you are, the more water you need. And, if you’re training, you need to be sure you’re getting enough hydration.
Avoid alcohol the day before any intense workouts because it’s very dehydrating and toxic to the system.
If you’re wearing clothes that make you sweat more, increase the amount of water you drink before, during, and after your workouts!
Drink a good tall glass of water 2 hours before you train.
Your well-being is my utmost concern. I can’t train you properly if you’re not properly hydrated! And I can’t train you if you’re unconscious, so let’s not let that happen.
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