Did you know you lose an average of 0.5L of water per day just from breathing? This certainly blew our minds. Then you add on sweating and urinating, without drinking any more water and you’ll be as dry as the Sahara desert by the end of the day. This is obviously not an ideal scenario.
Keep on reading for some tips and tricks on how to maintain the fluids in your body, as well as some additional benefits when it comes to losing weight and growing muscle.
How Much Water Should You Drink a Day?
I don’t know about you, but growing up as a child I was always told to drink 8 cups of water every day. No facts or science behind it, simply that 8 cups is what I needed.
After further research it is both correct and incorrect. There is actually not a set amount of water that individuals need to drink each day because everyone’s lifestyle is different. Bearing in mind individuals who exercise more will require more water in comparison to those that are more sedentary.
According to the National Academies of Science, Medicine and Engineering, the adequate average fluid intake for;
- Males should be around 3.7 litres of fluid per day (around 15.5 cups).
- Females should be around 2.7 litres of fluid per day (around 11.5 cups).
However, 8 cups is always a good starting point. This is because we consume water through other sources. In fact, 20% of our daily water intake comes from the foods we consume, with the other 80% coming from water and other fluids such as tea, coffee and soft drinks.
Does Drinking Water Help You Lose Weight?
You might be asking yourself "how much water should I be drinking to lose weight?"; "Does drinking water ACTUALLY help you lose weight"? And the answer short answer is yes!
Water helps your metabolism work more efficiently by allowing your body to convert food into energy faster. By being adequately fuelled you'll have more energy to complete your daily activities, helping you to burn calories and lose weight.
Water consumption can also help control hunger cues. When you’re feeling hungry we always recommend drinking a glass of water before you eat. This is because we commonly mistake thirst cues for hunger cues, which often leads to excess calorie consumption. When we drink water before a meal we often reduce our appetite and eat less.
Another major benefit of water for weight loss is that it's calorie free. No matter how much you drink, it will not lead to weight gain. This is 100% the ideal beverage choice if you're on a weight loss journey.
FUN FACT: Your body burns more calories when you drink cold water because it needs to warm the water back up to body temperature.
Does Drinking Water Help With Muscle Growth?
Drinking water to accompany your workout sessions can actually help with promoting muscle growth. As the fluid enters and circulates through your body, it transports the nutrients needed to produce protein and glycogen, and as a result leads to increased muscle growth.
It is important to constantly be fuelling up your body with water when exercising to prevent muscle cramping and other injuries. Drinking more water will prevent the inhibition of electrolytes flowing through your muscles, enhancing their freedom of movement. Without this balance of water and electrolytes, muscle strength and control will be negatively affected, hindering the growth.
Some exercises that result in larger amounts of energy expenditure and would therefore need more frequent hydration between sets include heavy squats, benching and any other form of heavy lifting. Cardio exercises such as running (on foot or on a treadmill) and cycling would also need lots of fluid replenishment because you secrete a lot of sweat and breath more heavily.
How To Ensure You’re Drinking Enough Water
We know how hard it is to get the right amount of water every single day, but here’s some things that may help you get started:
- Have a glass of water next to your bed each night so you drink it first thing every morning.
- Invest in a quality water bottle that will ensure your water stays cold/hot, making it more enjoyable to drink. I don’t know about you, but a nice bottle will always make me want to drink more water.
- If the taste of plain water is not your vibe, you can try infusing it with cucumber/mints/berries for a bit of flavour. This also delivers added benefits such as boosting energy and immune function.
- Setting daily goals and reminders throughout the day.
However, don’t be chugging a whole litre of water at once just for the sake of it, because that can actually do more harm than good.
Is There Such a Thing as Drinking Too Much Water?
Over hydration can cause the body to be intoxicated. This is due to your cells being pumped with water and swelling, leading to intoxication or disruption of brain function. When the cells are swollen, particularly in the brain, this will apply pressure and lead to headaches, however it also has the potential to cause hypertension and bradycardia.
Another condition that could develop from over hydration is hyponatremia, which can be fatal. This is when your kidneys are unable to get rid of the excess water and it goes to other parts of your body. It describes the occurrence of sodium levels falling dangerously low as a result of salt and electrolytes being heavily diluted. Without sodium, the fluids in the body are unbalanced and unable to be held back from the cells.
Signs that you’re drinking too much water:
Going to the bathroom too many times: On average you should be urinating around 6-10 times per day.
Nausea or vomiting: When your kidneys can’t remove the excess liquids, it stores them instead. When this happens nausea and/or vomiting can occur.
Recurring headaches throughout the day: As your cells are swelling the ones in your head are pushing against your brain, causing throbbing headaches to occur.
- Tiredness or fatigue: As your kidneys are working overtime to get rid of the excess water this activates a hormonal reaction that can lead to you feeling tired and fatigued.