Hydration and Bodybuilding
Nature’s Forgotten Supplement
At some point, you’ve probably had a lecture about not drinking enough water. It’s highly likely that—somewhere in the back of your mind—you already know that this free-flowing substance is crucial for everyday well-being. After all, the earth’s surface is mainly made of it, and so are our bodies. Despite water being readily available to most of us, the majority do not drink nearly enough of it. Even experienced athletes and bodybuilders often lack knowledge on the importance hydration plays in performance, muscle building and fat loss. So how can this clear liquid help us to pile on the muscle?
The Value of Drinking
As far as nutrients for the body are concerned, water is king. Our lungs, brain and blood are mostly made up of water. And the ability for our major bodily systems to function is hugely dependent on it. Even minor dehydration is a widespread cause of tiredness during the day.
There are many health benefits and reasons to make sure you drink enough every day, including, healthier teeth, bones, skin, joints and digestive system. Consuming an adequate amount of water will even do wonders for the mind.
Hydration for Bodybuilding
Being properly hydrated is an essential yet understated must for building solid muscle and obliterating unwanted fat. This holds for both beginners and seasoned pros. When you feed the body with the water it needs, you’re helping it function at its peak. This results in several crucial benefits that aid fitness:
- Increased Strength – Even mild dehydration can cause a telling reduction in muscular endurance and strength. This could mean you’re operating on 80-90% and may struggle to complete those all-important last one or two reps in each set. This will add up in the long run.
- Better Concentration and Energy – Lack of fluid could result in poor focus and sluggishness. The brain contains a lot of water, and even a small drop in these levels can affect our concentration and speed of thought negatively.
- Helps With Fat Loss – Keeping well hydrated can improve your body’s capacity to metabolise fat stores and can also decrease fat deposits. Drinking plenty of water will also curb your appetite—perfect for the shredding season.
- Increased Muscle Tone – Lack of water can stop muscles from contracting correctly. This can result in decreased muscle tone.
- Aids in Muscle Building – Staying well hydrated will help to carry proteins and carbohydrates to muscle cells. Water is also involved in moving waste products away from the muscles and has an important role in muscle movement and flexing.
How Much Do We Need?
For the average person, guidelines would suggest a minimum of eight to twelve glasses of water a day. However, if you’re reading this, it’s highly likely that you lift weights often—which means you’ll need more. If you engage in any form of exercise, you’ll want to make sure you’re passing the recommended amount with ease.
Most people would be doing well by drinking about one gallon (~3.8L) of water, which is on average around sixteen glasses. However, it’s difficult to find a magic number, and you should consider the following factors when forming a daily target:
- Replace Lost Water – You lose water through sweating and breathing each day and this must be replaced. How much you lose will depend on the environment and your daily activity level. So, if you’re super active and live in a hot country, up your water intake even more.
- Your Weight – quite simply, the bigger you are the more water you need. If you’re already of mammoth proportions, you’ll need more than a weight training newcomer.
- Don’t Try to Be Exact – It might take a bit of experimenting to find a good amount for you. Give it your best guess given your size and the climate you live in, but don’t worry about being precise—no one can be.
Don’t underestimate the importance of hydration for muscle building. You need a good-sized water bottle to hand throughout the day, no matter where you are or what you’re doing. Taking regular sips, evenly spread, is smarter than guzzling it down in one. And don’t wait till you’re thirsty to have a drink—that means you’re already dehydrated. Make a change today and you might be surprised at the power of water.