In this day of information overload and high tech ways of getting better, little emphasis is put on the most important factors for performance. Even on this site you have the chance to read up on supplements and how they work. I can’t really stress enough the importance of water. Go a day without eating, fine. Go a day without water, things go downhill quickly.
Water is about 60 percent of your bodyweight. SIXTY PERCENT! Let’s boil that down further. Muscle, the thing we try to make more explosive or resilient depending on our game, is 75 percent water. Blood, that transporter of all things (almost), 83 percent water. Even if we do everything right–don’t eat refined sugar sources/junk food, exercise, crush your veggies (which have water in them)–you’ll still be lacking significantly without considering your water intake.
Water is a transporter, catalyst to the reactions in our body, a lubricant, help’s with growth, etc. And just like your car needs an oil change, your body needs water exchange. We get rid of water via sweat, the bathroom, and from breathing (as vapor). For each percent loss of water there are repercussions that will impact performance from an athlete point of view, but get into the 5 percent plus range and you’re going to be dealing with some large issues. Just don’t go there.
With all that said, how do you make sure that you have enough? Great question. There are a number of ways that you can guesstimate how much you need, some fancy equations are used to determine this. To all you non-mathletes out there, a good general guideline is 100-120 fluid ounces of water consumed per day. The more active you are, the more toward the 120 fluid ounce side of the spectrum you’ll be.
Prior to exercise, drink water. During exercise, drink water. After exercise, drink water. See a pattern here? Water means water too, not iced tea. Caffeine has been shown to not have a huge impact on overall hydration throughout the day, however, in the short term it will speed up metabolic processes causing a little dehydration.
Anecdotally, I’ve had plenty of conversations about the importance of water. The response is usually along the lines of, I don’t like the taste. In which I respond, what taste? To be fair, water does usually contain some micronutrients which may have an impact on taste. Who am I to judge? Fine, you don’t like the taste, how in the world will you stay hydrated now??? You can help the process with the foods you eat. Technically all food has water in it, to some degree. Fruits and veggies are always a great way to introduce watahh into the system as well as fiber and some micronutrients.
Just try it. You’ll feel much better. When you take it away, you’ll notice it. Have anything to add to the conversation? Chime in.