Water is the healthiest beverage you can ever drink. It contains no calories – it’s good for weight loss, building muscle, and overall health.
If you are a regular Focus Fitness reader you know that I emphasis on drinking water. Drinking adequate water, is actually one of the tips in the 25 diet and exercise tips that will transform your body.
Good thing, pure H2O is not the only source of water. Fruits, vegetables and beverages like coffee, tea, soup and milk are also sources of water. In fact, 22% of the water in the body comes from the foods we eat.
There’s a lot of conflicting information on how much water an adult should drink. Truth is, there’s no one size fits all. People’s water needs vary depending on factors like – size, weight, level of activity, humidity and temperature of where they stay.
Before I tell you how much water you should drink, let me answer the question everybody wants to know.
Does drinking plenty of water help you lose weight?
Could the key to weight loss be as simple as drinking water?
YES and NO. No because there are many other factors that affect weight loss. With that in mind, yes – drinking more water can help you lose weight.
One benefit is that water increases satiety and curbs cravings. Studies show that drinking a glass of water before a meal prevents overeating.
That’s not all, research shows that drinking water boosts metabolism for almost 2 hours. In fact, this study found that drinking 2 liters of water can help burn an extra 96 calories a day.
In another study, subjects who drunk water before meals lost 44% more weight than those who didn’t.
Lastly, dehydration causes water retention. And water retention slows down weight loss. In fact, you may be losing fat but you won’t see any changes on the scale due to water retention.
Staying hydrated helps get rid of water retention.
Does drinking plenty of water help build muscle?
When it comes to building muscle folks want to know the best bodyweight exercise, how to get six pack abs….but nobody wants to know how much water they should drink.
Water actually helps (indirectly) build muscle. And people who do strength training should drink more water because they lose water through sweat.
Drinking plenty of water doesn’t enhance muscle growth but it can help you build muscle. Let me explain – dehydration lowers energy levels and affects brain functionality. These effects make a person weak and reduce strength. Ultimately, they prevent you from putting maximum efforts in your workouts. And you won’t build muscle as fast as you could have.
The other thing is that dehydration shrinks muscle cells and increases muscle breakdown. Increased muscle breakdown stops muscle growth within the muscle cells and protein synthesis. Lastly, not drinking enough water slows down muscle recovery.
So, how much water should you drink?
The amount of water the body needs will vary from person to person. Even organizations differ in their recommendation for water intake.
That said, drink at least 2 liters of water a day if you live a sedentary lifestyle and at least 2.5 liters if you are highly active, exercise regularly or live at a hot place.
Check your urine to know if you’re drinking enough water. Dark and strong smelling urine is a sign of dehydration. Urine should be clear if you’re drinking enough water.
Note that when you feel thirsty it means you’re already dehydrated. So don’t wait until you are thirsty to drink water.
Calorie containing drinks like soda, diet soda, fruit juice, milk and energy drinks should be avoided. Calories from these beverages quickly add up and cause weight gain. Instead, drink beverages like soup, green tea and coffee.
Fruits and vegetables are also great sources of water. Eat lots of vegetables since they are low in calories, nutrient dense and rich in fiber. Most fruits are also high in fiber but high in calories, so eat fruits in moderation.
What should you drink during exercise?
The body loses a lot of water through sweat when exercising. Sweating also causes loss of nutrients like sodium and potassium. So you need to replenish the water and nutrients lost during exercise. The best way to do this is to drink water before, during, and after the workout.
If you sweat heavily you may need to drink sports drinks to replenish the sodium and potassium lost through sweat. Make sure you drink low (or no) calorie sports drinks.
Tips that will help you drink more water
Drinking enough water each day is a big challenge for most. We get busy with work or school and forget about staying hydrated. That’s why I’ve come up with a few tips that will help you drink more water and stay hydrated throughout the day.
Drink water before and after all meals
This will help you drink more water and prevent overeating. If you eat 3 meals a day that means you’ll drink at least 6 glasses of water. And you’ll only need to drink a few more glasses.
Carry a bottle of water around
As I said, when you feel thirsty it means you’re already dehydrated. Most times get thirsty because we can’t find water to drink. You can avoid dehydration by carrying a bottle of water around.
It’s also economical because you can refill the bottle instead of buying water.
You may want to drink more water but you keep forgetting. Use an alarm clock or an app to remind yourself.
In fact, there’s an app called Waterlogged which helps track water intake.
Drink other healthy beverages
If drinking plenty of water is a big challenge for you, drink healthy and low calorie beverages like green tea, coffee, and soup.
You could also try adding lemons to water – it has helped many people drink more water.
I don’t want to overwhelm you with tips that you may never use. The above tips are enough to help you drink more than 2 liters of water a day.
Other health benefits of drinking enough water
Water is not just good for curbing cravings, or weight loss, or building muscle…it also has other numerous health benefits. Here they are:
Drinking enough water improves skin health
Drinking enough water aids in digestions and prevents constipation
Drinking enough water improves the efficiency of the kidney
Drinking enough water relieves fatigue and increases energy
Drinking enough water prevents muscle cramps and strains
And much more….
Small habits like drinking enough water everyday will make a huge difference in the long run.
There is no specific amount of water everybody should drink, but make sure you drink at least 2 liters a day or 2.5 liters if you are highly active or sweat lot.
Is drinking plenty of water a challenge for you? Let me know in the comments below