One very important aspect of bodybuilding that is often overlooked is the consumption of adequate amounts of water.
Water is extremely important in the body, especially for someone who is overweight or involved in intense training.
In this article I will briefly go over how water is used in the body, and then I will discuss its role in bodybuilding and weight loss.
Water Is Everywhere
Water has been regarded as "the most essential nutrient". It is the most abundant resource on the Earth, and is necessary for the survival of every living thing. It is required for virtually every bodily function. Approximately 40-60% of our body weight is water, and muscle is composed of around 72% by weight.
Your body loses around 10-12 cups of water per day just through your skin, lungs, kidneys, and intestines; and this does not even include exercise! On the other hand, the average person obtains around 4 cups just through food and another ½ cup as a by-product of your metabolism.
Now even if you add all this up, you are still losing around 5½ cups of water each day. And as I mentioned before, this does not include exercise, which can double, or even triple these figures. This means that someone who does not exercise has to drink 6-8 cups of water each day, then someone who is involved in intense training needs anywhere from 12-32 cups per day - and remember that this is just the minimum!
Multiply your bodyweight by .55-.75 (the higher being for someone in a warmer climate), the resulting number is the amount of water you should drink each day in ounces. So, for someone in a moderate climate who weighs 200 pounds, they should drink approximately 130 ounces of water each day for the maximum benefits.
Water seems to-good-to-be-true when it comes to fat loss and muscle building. As I mentioned before, your muscles are made up of 73% water by weight, whereas fat is only 25%. This means that when you drink water, you increase your muscle weight, and the more muscle you have the more fat you burn up through the resulting rise in your metabolism.
On the other hand, this also means that diets that result in excessive fluid loss will result in a decrease in muscle size. Another factor of excessive fluid loss is dehydration. When you are dehydrated, the body begins to retain every last drop of water you have.
Your kidneys are responsible for filtering out waste products in the water within your system, and without sufficient water, they cannot do this properly. This causes the liver to assist in the filtering process. This is definitely not a good thing because one of the liver's main functions is to metabolize stored fat for energy.
So when the liver can't focus on its own job, it greatly slows down the amount of fat you burn. However, this retained water is still not out of the picture. Most of this water is stored under the skin which will make your hard-earned muscular definition smooth-looking.
Now this can lead to two problems: it makes your muscles look smaller because a lot of the water in your muscles is lost; you flush electrolytes out of the body, which are necessary for muscular contraction.
What I'm trying to stress here is that water is more important than you might think it is. I mean, it's simple: all you have to do is drink it, and you've done your part. Also, remember - it's free, so downing it won't cost you a thing! Now drinking glass after glass may seem like a lot, but if you spread it out over the course the day it goes down really easily, and the longer you do it, the more you'll actually start to crave it.
One thing that helps me is to keep it with me at all times during the day. A few weeks ago, I was on an airplane and they gave me this little 8 oz water bottle when I asked for water, and that thing is awesome. I just keep filling it up between classes, it fits right in my pocket, and the teachers can barely even see it.
Carrying a bottle around in your pocket all day may sound weird, but it's my way, and so far it has worked great for me. You have to find whatever makes it easier for you to remember and continue drink it, just as you have to find something that will help you remember to do any of the requirements for a good physique. So start downing the water, or you'll regret not doing so!
- Keep Pumpin'!