I remember back to when I was in college, and I took on a challenge to chug water for an hour. And then there was that time when I was getting ready for a bodybuilding show and went overboard, drinking three gallons of water per day until I felt my heart slow to a crawl. Both times, I literally became intoxicated and developed Hyponatremia, flushing out all of my electrolytes and throwing my whole body off balance. While excessive, and I don’t recommend drinking water like that, it nevertheless shows you that I have had a unique interest in hydration and performance for a number of years.

Being optimally hydrated is crucial to your health.  Here are the main reasons why:

  • Roughly 95% of our muscles are made up of water. Although some of this consists of glycogen (three grams water to one gram of carbohydrate), compare that number to the fact that muscles are actually only made up of .05 amino acid (protein). Water is literally the most natural anabolic substance we put into our body.

Under-hydrated = un-met potential of muscular strength and growth.

  • First and foremost, our bodies are built for survival. One of the reasons you will feel so nasty when you have the flu is because your cells aren’t hydrated. Think about how you feel in that situation, and then think about trying to lose body fat while not drinking enough water.  It simply won’t happen. In turn, our livers are the biggest fat-burning organs in the body, providing the role of detoxing the cells. Our kidneys normally deal with the waste when optimally hydrated. But, if you aren’t optimally hydrated, the liver will have to assume the role of the kidneys, and put its fat burning responsibilities on hold.
  • Our bodies are connected by a thick, plastic-like sheath that encompasses the entire muscular system, otherwise known as myofascia. If you are dehydrated, all of your soft tissue (tendons, ligaments, muscles) will not contract, slide, or have the extensibility that they should have to function optimally.

Okay, so how do you know if you are dehydrated?

One way would be to look at the color of your urine. If it's dark, you are dehydrated.

Another way would be to press down for five to ten seconds on the flat side of your tibia bone. If there is still an indent once you pull away, it’s a good sign that you are dehydrated.

For more advanced athletes, or for those who are more advanced in the weight room, you will also develop the ability to intuitively know if you are optimally hydrated or not. A simple place to start would be to multiply your body weight (in pounds) times 2/3. The number you get should be the number of ounces of water you should begin drinking. From there, adjust upwards as thirst dictates.

Don’t slack on the easy thing because the easy things make for much better results.