top of page

ShFit Talk #21 - Water Makes the Difference 🥤

Glass of water
Delicious glass of ice cold water, YUM!

What is water? Water is an inorganic, transparent, tasteless, odorless, and nearly colorless chemical substance, which is in all known living organisms and boy on boy does it is important for us humans.

The adult human body consists of up to 60% water (and according to some sources up to 80%)! 60%, that is a lot of percent….as long as we aren’t looking at a final exam score. According to H.H. Mitchell, Journal of Biological Chemistry, the brain and heart alone are composed of 73% water, and the lungs are about 83% water. The skin contains around 64% water, the muscles and kidneys are 79%, and even the bones contain 31%.

Water is essential for so many important processes that take place in the body. Our blood, which is made up of water carrying essential glucose, oxygen and nutrients around the body and to cells. It helps our digestive system and allows our kidneys to flush our body and get rid of the waste products we no longer want or need. Water lubricates everything from our eyes to our joints all while keeping our skin glowing and healthy.

Not only does every organ in our body rely on water, but water helps us to regulate our body temperature and prevent infections. Being well-hydrated also helps to improve the overall quality of sleep, cognition, and mood. It also improves body temperature regulation, metabolic function, liver function and much more. Sometimes even when you are feeling hungry, you are actually just thirsty! Crazy right, but it is actually pretty hard for your body to tell the difference between being hungry and being thirsty. Plus research has shown that if you drink a glass of water before eating, you will feel full sooner and eat less. Talk about a win win, especially if you are on a diet! booyah

So why did we just have that little biology review on what water is, how water affects the body and blah blah blah. Well summer is officially in full swing and one of the things that is too often overlooked in living a healthy fit lifestyle is water consumption. With summer comes heat and with heat comes extra sweat! We already sweat when we exercise, but the sun and temperature increases the sweating! It is important to stay hydrated and replace loss electrolytes. So sometimes something as simple as getting enough water can really make a difference in reaching your fitness goals.

All this talk on summer heat, but first how much water should we have? We commonly hear that we should have a minimum of 8 cups of water a day, however according to The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, an adult man should consume 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) a day and adult women should drink about 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) a day. That is a little more than the 8 cups of water I grew up hearing I should drink daily. Most people don’t really know how much water they are, or are not drinking on a daily basis. Think about it for a second, how much water do you drink every day? Really drink? Not how much you think you drink or how much you drank that one time you were tracking it for a week. Not soda, beer, alcohol, juice, milk, but water and/or coffee/tea each day. So many of us don’t get that recommended amount in. I will be the first to admit that there are days I sure as heck don’t get 12 cups of water in! Not to mention those recommendations are for if you are a regular sedentary person. BUT WE ARE NOT SEDENTARY, we are active, right! We workout, we get our sweat on at the gym, we go out biking, running, playing sports outside, we are striving towards a fitter and healthier us. And the more we sweat, the more water we are losing and the more we need to replace it!

According to the NASM (National Academy of Sports Medicine) it is recommended that when exercising you should drink:

  • 14 - 22 oz of water about 2 hours before coming to the gym to make sure you are fully hydrated and ready to kick butt and take names

  • 6 - 12 oz of water for every 15 - 20 min of exercise you do so you can stay motivated and get the most out of your workout

  • 16 - 24 oz of water or a sports drink for every pound of body mass you loss during your workout because remember our goal is to lose fat not water weight loss!

I know, I know that sounds like a lot, but that doesn’t mean you have to stand next to the water purifier chugging water all day long like a crazy person. Water comes in all forms. You can have it flavoured with fruit and vegetables, who doesn't love a good cucumber water, or even a good old cup of tea or coffee, plus you can even find it in some of your food. Now just because you can get water in coffee and tea does not mean you should get all your water that way, just a few cups of it.

I had a co-worker back in the day when I worked in the corporate world that only drank 1 cup of water a day and the rest was soda and coffee. Yikes right! I remember the day she told me she never sweat. We lived in South Florida guys... the idea of NEVER sweating, even when she worked out was a big red sign. Now what else happens if you don’t get enough water and become dehydrated?It starts off simple enough:

  • Persistent headaches

  • Sluggish bowel function.

  • Dull skin

  • Fatigue

  • Weight gain

  • Dry mouth

But it never is that easy is it. Server dehydration can lead to much worse things:

  • lack of sweating

  • sunken eyes

  • shriveled and dry skin

  • low blood pressure

  • increased heart rate

  • fever

  • delirium

  • unconsciousness

Server dehydration is just the loss 10%- 15% of your body fluid, That doesn’t sound like much at all.

One quick way to make sure you are hydrated is to take a look at your pee. I know it sounds gross, but honestly A. have you never looked in the toilet to see what your body has done and 2. If your urine is clear or light yellow with a slight odor, you’re well hydrated. Woohoo. If your pee is dark yellow and more “pee” smelling, you’re a little dehydrated. Easy Day.

Now we know why our body needs water, the benefits of drinking water, but how do we get in the habit of doing it.

  • Get an insulated sports bottle, like a hydro flask or Yeti or something. I covered mine with stickers, to individualize it a bit. Some people just use a gallon milk jug. Whatever works for you.

  • Keep a glass of water on your desk at work and another by your bed. So often we wake up at night or in the morning dehydrated. I go to bed every night with a full flask and I will drink at least half throughout the night

  • Add some flavour to your water. So many of my clients have told me they just don’t like the taste of water, but there are so many packets like crystal light or you can just toss in some veggies and fruit and let them fuse.

  • Switch from a cup of coffee to a cup of water. Yes you can get some water from coffee, but plain old water is always the best way to go.

  • Every time you get up and go to the bathroom, drink some water. You don’t have to drink a whole glass, you can start with a few sips. Replace the pee so to speak.

  • Try a water tracking app like “Waterlogged” or “Daily Water” which are both free

  • Drink throughout the day, don’t try to chug it all in real quick….plus that isn’t good for you.

Why is chugging all your necessary water for one day a bad thing, well it can lead to water intoxication. It is not easy to over drink water by accident, but it can happen. Overhydration can lead to confusion, disorientation, nausea, and vomiting. But like I said, this is rare, only really seen in maybe professional sports or military training so you really don’t have too much to worry about.

Now you know a little more about water and the benefits of drinking water so instead of reaching for a soda next time, try to take your water consumption to the next level and reach for a nice cool glass of yummy H2O!!