What you need to know about hydration
Hydration is as important in bodybuilding as any other topic because it affects everything else. Your hydration status has an impact on your health, performance, body composition, sleep, recovery, mental focus, and even joint health.
I'm not referring to staying hydrated during your workout. In general, maintaining a constant state of hydration is critical for all of us from the moment we wake up to the moment we go to bed.
You probably don't drink enough water throughout the day—half an ounce to an ounce per pound of body weight. For a 200-pound man, that's 100-200 ounces per day. However, there are numerous advantages to doing so.
Here are a few ways that simply drinking enough water can improve your overall fitness routine.
Renal function refers to the function of your kidneys, which are in charge of processing a large amount of waste from your system. When you're dehydrated, your kidneys, like any other organ, can become stressed, especially given the amount of food, protein, and supplements you're asking them to process. Consuming enough water allows your kidneys to function properly, processing waste products within your body and thus helping to reduce toxins within you.
If you are dehydrated, your renal function will suffer immediately, potentially putting you at risk of kidney stones.
Failure to stay hydrated can cause your blood pressure to rise in a matter of days as your body gradually shuts down parts of the capillary network. As a result, more pressure is placed on your major arteries, which is where the increase in blood pressure occurs during a state of dehydration.
You don't need me to explain why an increase in blood pressure can be a bad thing—in this case, one that you could completely avoid with a little effort.
Just two to three percent dehydration can reduce overall performance in the gym by up to 20 percent. This is due to the fact that when you are not properly hydrated, your ability to transport nutrients, regenerate ATP, and flush the body of lactic acid is greatly reduced. Your workout suddenly becomes far more difficult than it should be, lowering your overall intensity, which naturally affects your results.
I'm sure you've worked out when you were exhausted from not drinking enough water. To return to the previous point about blood pressure, when you are hydrated, your capillary networks are less open, which means blood flow to the muscles suffers.
Being hydrated entails significantly increasing your overall water intake, which means your body will produce more urine, which is a warm fluid. Because of the energy required, simply drinking more water causes you to burn more calories at rest. Combine that with the fact that drinking cold water forces your body to constantly try to maintain its core temperature, which increases thermogenesis.
It's often said that the simplest way to lose weight is to drink more water. Increased water consumption will also improve your rate of satiety, which means cravings and overall hunger will be reduced.
Muscle is 70 to 80 percent water, depending on your source, which says a lot about the importance of hydration when it comes to muscle building. When it comes to things like cell swelling and muscle volumization, having enough fluid on hand is crucial.
The irony is that not drinking enough water causes you to appear more watery because your body holds on to sodium when dehydrated, causing you to hold more water subcutaneously. A constant flow of water into your body aids in the removal of any water retention and improves sodium balance.
Being hydrated correlates to nutrient transportation, assimilation, overall gut health, and even joint health. Your gut cannot process food correctly when dehydrated, and as a result, it cannot assimilate nutrients from that food as efficiently. This will have an impact on your ability to recover, grow, and perform.