Dehydration is Killing You
Dehydration is one of what I call the Three Silent Killers. These three aspects of your life are often overlooked and by doing so they shorten your lifespan without you even knowing. The other two are stress and sleep deprivation. Both of these deserve their own separate posts so there's more to come on that front.
Back to dehydration. I'm going to hit you with a fact that will clearly define the importance of hydrating properly - a drop in hydration levels as low as 1% will negatively affect your physical ability by as much as 5%! Take a second to think about your weight loss efforts. Over time, chronic dehydration will slow your weight loss, making it a frustrating endeavor. Here’s an example to clarify the severity of the situation; lets say you burn an average of 300 calories per day from your workouts; that would be a 15 calorie per day loss of potential expenditure. That’s 105 calories per week, 420 calories per month and 5,040 calories per year. That’s equivalent to 2 pounds of fat content that you could have lost - double or triple those figures if you’re even more dehydrated.
That’s just to start...there’s more...
Not only does a 1% dehydration level negatively affect your caloric burn, but it also slows your metabolism by 3%. So, on top of the 5% drop in your ability to perform at your best, there’s another 3% drop in the speed at which your calories are being utilized!
Don’t hate me for this, but I’m about to kick you when you’re down...
When you get that “wow, I’m thirsty” feeling, you’re already 2% dehydrated! The feeling of “thirstiness” is actually a symptom of dehydration, not a gentle reminder. It’s your body saying “this is bad. Help me out!”
Now that I’ve got you horrified, I’m sure you’re wondering how much water you actually need
Look up three different sources for this answer and you’ll get three different answers. Just like everything else in fitness, the truth is that it’s different for everyone. No two bodies are exactly alike so the amount of water your body will need to function at it’s best is going to vary from “the standards” for each person. A good place to start is shooting for half of your body weight in ounces every day. I weigh 180lbs so I focus on consuming at least 90 ounces of water every day. That’s where I start. Understanding that I train at a high level and therefore sweat more, I’ve added another 30 ounces to that and take in a total of 120 ounces per day.
Here’s a cool way to keep track throughout the day
This is my every day water bottle. This particular one is 20ozs. To stay hydrated I’ll need to drink 6 of these each day. I start with 6 rubberbands at the top and every time I finish a bottle and refill I pull a rubberband down. By the end of the day I should have all 6 rubberbands down at the bottom.
But Josh, water is SO boring!
Not really - Be creative
10 Healthy ways to make water less boring
- Cucumber (Cools and hydrates)
- Fresh Mint (Freshens breath and treats nausea)
- Chia Seeds (Strengthens teeth and bones)
- Lemon or Lime (Boosts immunity and prevents colds)
- Aloe Vera Juice (Relaxes and relieves stress)
- Ginger (Aids in digestion)
- Herbal Tea Bag (Relaxes and relieves stress)
- Berries (Promotes beauty and prevents oxidation)
- Cinnamon (Regulates blood sugar and reduces cholesterol)
- Honey (Helps prevent cancer and infections)
PS, seltzer water counts! Some sparkling waters may contain added sodium or hidden sugars, however, so read the label.