Did you know that up to 75% of people are chronically dehydrated?! And it’s not just us regular folks… Trainer Amanda Carlson did a study of college football players prepping for a major NFL scouting event, and found that 98% of the players were dehydrated in their morning evaluation. Eek!
Losing just 2% of your body weight in fluid can decrease your performance by 25%, Carlson's study showed. Water is crucial for everyone, but especially so when exercising! Water supports nearly all bodily functions, and without enough of it, you can get dizzy, lethargic, and painful muscle cramps. Further, water helps your heart pump blood throughout your body and helps transport nutrients and oxygen to your muscles, which is so important for physical performance as well as muscle gains.
How much water do you really need, in general? We’ve all heard the 8-cups a day adage, but these days most experts say it’s better to aim for drinking half your body weight (in pounds) in ounces of water. So for a 140 pound woman, that’d be 70 ounces, or about 9 cups. A 200 pound man, however, should aim for 100 ounces - or about 13 cups.
BUT, when exercising, you need even more than that to replace the water lost through sweat and breath. The National Athletic Trainers' Association recommends these hydration guidelines: two to three hours before workout: 17 to 20 fluid ounces of water or sports drink; ten to 20 minutes pre-exercise: 7 to 10 ounces; and then another 7 to 10 ounces every 10 to 20 minutes during your workout. Yes, that's a lot of water - but trust us, you;ll be able to perform at your peak only if you are well-hydrated!
As a bonus, being well-hydrated can help you lose weight, if that is one of your wellness goals. A study published in 2008 found that women on a weight-loss plan who upped their water intake to more than one liter a day lost about five pounds more over the course of a year than those who drank less.
Can you drink too much water? Yes, but it’s highly unlikely. Water intoxication is actually related to drinking too much water and not enough electrolytes, which dilutes the sodium levels in your body and causes fluid to move to the inside of cells, which in turn causes swelling (very bad news for brain cells). Read this past blog post on the importance of electrolytes, and make sure you’re getting enough throughout the day (especially) when exercising!
Wanna spice up your water intake? There are plenty of easy ways to do so! We love adding fresh fruits or herbs into our water! Try strawberries, melon, citrus fruits, mint, or basil. You can even swap out your agua for some bubbles… Sparkling water, that is! (Hello, La Croix!) And don’t forget about the First Order REFRESH product we sent you in your February box - one scoop is only 10 calories and adds delicious and all-natural flavor to your water!