Some of you may recognize this post!
This is an older piece I wrote a little while back but the questions has been coming up a lot and I felt like it would be a good idea to re post it for those who missed it the first time. Enjoy!
How much water should I drink?
Probably one of the most common questions I've ever been asked as a personal trainer.
Over the years, I've shared my knowledge of exercise programming and nutrition to countless people. I've gotten a lot of experience dealing with the same questions daily. How many days per week do I need to work out? Am I eating too many calories? Will lifting weights make me big and bulky? (The worst)
However, one of the questions that is often overlooked but really shouldn't be is the concept behind adequate water consumption.
Now, we all know water is absolutely essential for overall health. This isn't an article about the benefits of water, you should already know why you need water. But, as a little bit of a recap...
For one, our bodies are made up of about 60% water. Those liquids are used for tons of bodily functions, some of which include digestion, circulation, all the way to fueling our muscles during exercise and keeping us hydrated.
Okay, we all get it? Water's necessary. Now...how much?
Remember when the word was we needed eight glasses of water a day? Okay, while I never saw any scientific proof that that was true or not is totally irrelevant. Common sense should tell us that while eight 8 oz glasses is a good guideline, there's no way a 110 pound female would require the same amount of water per day as say a 240 pound male. Aside from body size alone, there are tons of other variables. What other liquids do you consume per day? Are you physically active? (We hope so) And the list goes on and on.
A good basic guideline that I share with all of my clients is to drink about half of your bodyweight in ounces per day. So, for example, a 160 pound male should look to drink 80 ounces of water per day. So it's totally clear, that's about ten eight ounce cups or five 16 oz bottles.
Now, with most of my new clients...this is the first "homework" I give them. To see if they can accomplish the small goal of simply consuming, what is usually, more water. Why first? Isn't diet important or what exercises they're doing and this and that? Yes absolutely there are tons of things that go into proper programming. However, for the average person, getting into the gym and even starting a new diet and exercise program is the hardest part. It takes weeks, months, even years to commit to changing a lifestyle. So, I set a short- term, attainable goal for my clients at the end of our very first session together. The next time I see them, I check in to see if they were able to do it and we delve deeper into the intricacies of their program from there.
This helps both myself as well as the client in our process. For me as the trainer, it allows me to see the commitment level behind my client. Do they really want to make a change or just sort of? Now, for the client, it allows them to get a confidence boost. Losing fifty pounds is a great goal and a tough task but starting to drink water more regularly is an easy way of getting started.
So, start to take mental notes daily of your water consumption. If you notice you are drinking over that benchmark I set but you're feeling great then by all means, stay where you're at. However, if you notice that you might not be drinking enough, start to slowly add more and more of the essential liquid to your diet.