Water is Life
Water intake is closely related to two very important facets of good health: optimal digestion and the elimination of toxins. Drinking water before meals can help you to lose more weight and keep it off, because it helps fill your stomach, making you less hungry and less likely to overeat. In addition, drinking more water may discourage you from guzzling soda and other calorie-laden beverages.
Except for oxygen, there’s nothing your body needs more than an adequate supply of water. And the more you exercise, the more important it is to drink the right amount of water before, during, and after your workouts. Dehydration can make it hard to get the most out of your workout, and in extreme situations, can even be dangerous to your health.
How much water do you really need? While each person’s hydration needs are different, the Institute of Medicine advises that men and women try to consume about 3.7 and 2.7 liters of water a day, respectively, including water found in food and other beverages.
And according to the American College of Sports Medicine, dehydration is likely to start affecting exercise performance when sweating causes you to lose 2% or more of your normal (hydrated) body weight. That’s more than 51 ounces, or a little over 3 pounds, for an “average” person of 160 pounds. At this level of mild dehydration, you’ll probably be a little thirsty (though many people don’t experience thirst until they’re already dehydrated), and you may start to feel as if you have to work significantly harder to maintain your performance level. As dehydration gets progressively more severe, you may start to feel lightheaded, uncoordinated, or have muscle cramps. If you continue, you may start experiencing the symptoms of heat exhaustion, and that can progress to heat stroke, which is potentially fatal and needs immediate medical attention.
Many athletes — even top-caliber athletes — can get slightly to severely dehydrated during training and competition. By the time a person actually registers the feeling of being thirsty, he or she is already dehydrated. Studies have shown that a person who is as little as two percent dehydrated can experience up to a 10 percent decline in performance, and it gets worse from there. Don’t short-change your workouts—drink that water!” ~ Jackie Kold
The goals of fluid intake during exercise are to prevent dehydration from occurring and to not drink in excess of one’s sweating rate. A good means to assess when you need to drink fluids during your workout is to simply weigh yourself (without clothes) just before and after a typical workout. If your weight change is more than 2% of your starting weight, then in the future, you should plan to drink enough water during your workout to keep your post-workout weight within that 2% range. Typically, drinking a cup (8 oz) of water every 15-20 minutes will do the trick in all but the most extreme situations. While difficult to recommend a specific fluid schedule because of varying needs, this handy chart provides some basic guidelines:
|Drink Water||How Much?||When?|
|Before Exercise||8 – 16 oz||At least, 15 minutes before workout|
|During Exercise||4 -8 oz||Every 15 – 20 minutes|
|After Exercise||16 – 24 oz per pound* lost||As soon as possible|
|* If possible, weigh yourself on the same scale, before and after exerciseso you know how much to drink for rehydration|
For special cases, such as long workouts, boot camps and exercise sessions in hot and humid weather you may need more than the Tolerable Upper Intake Level for sodium (2,300 milligrams daily). That’s why commercial sports drinks are often recommended for athletes taking part in such endurance events. Make sure the sports drink contains about 120–170 milligrams of sodium per 8-ounce serving.
If you are looking for a less expensive option for the commercial sports drink, try one of the Want More Energy Sticks Jackie sells at the studio in your water. Delicious, low cal and all natural sweeteners that provide the perfect replacement, trace minerals and vitamins.
Jackie’s Fitness Tip: “Drinking water before meals is is one of the best ways to lose weight. Bring a toxin-free, refillable water bottle to work and drink from it throughout the day. Add lemon for a variety of health benefits including improved immune function. Try to have two cups of water 20 minutes before each main meal. I also make sure clients have water at every workout too for optimum performance.”