Hydration! Part 4: How to start on the warrior path
Coach Josh here at Training for Warriors Portland, and yup, we are still talking about recovery today!
In that larger heading of recovery, we're going to get a bit more dialed in and talking about hydration. Hydration is a huge part of health. It's something that isn't really well understood by a lot of people, even a lot of fitness professionals. We've all heard the concept of eight glasses of water a day is the recommended amount. When you do some research, you'll find there's not a lot of cited sources on that "eight glasses" and how that number came to be the standard.
As animals, we're made up of mostly water. Our blood, bones, skin, muscle fibers; they're all mostly water. Most of YOU is water. When it comes to hydration, you're really talking about providing yourself a resource that happens to be an important requirement. Every single molecular transaction in the body requires water somehow. It's a hugely important substance, and there's been many articles written on the fact that every one of us is dehydrated to some degree during the day, and I think that's true. However, when you talk about prescriptions to combat that, things get a little confusing. People will recommend eight glasses of water a day, or 100 ounces, or half your body weight in ounces. Those are heuristics to get you started, for sure... but there's only a couple of ways you can really check.
JUST DO IT!
First, make sure that you're actually just drinking water. I put a tiny amount of minerals (specifically Celtic sea salt) in my water bottle, and I'll drink three of them per day. That's 96 ounces of water. I don't really worry too much about whether I'm drinking two, three, or four, as long as my urine is clear (or close to it), and I also feel hydrated. If you've ever drunk a gallon of water in a day (many coaches and resources recommend this), you'll notice that you might drink a ton of water, but you'll continually feel more and more thirsty. That has a lot more to do with the mineralization of your blood, and what minerals (potassium, magnesium, calcium, etc...) you have available for those aforementioned molecular transactions. You need to have a certain amount of each mineral available in your body in order to function, break down proteins, and get rid of waste, and to manufacture energy.
My point is that water does a great deal for you.
It dilutes toxins, it allows you to filter things out of your body, it allows you to metabolize fat faster, it helps you think. Being dehydrated affects your cognitive ability, even just a little bit. So try adding a little bit of Celtic sea salt into your water to improve the mineralization of the water you're drinking. You might find that you feel more hydrated with less water. Again, the litmus test is, "Do you feel hydrated? How's your focus and energy? And are you able to pee clear?" If your pee is a murky color (unless you're eating beets and your urine gets to be a funky color) then get some water in you! You wanna have not perfectly clear urine, but rather, semi-clear.
That's the 50,000 foot view on hydration and here are a couple more things to add to that. Say you've consumed your 80 or 100 ounces of water or whatever it may be for you. If you add any athletic activity on top of that (like an hour of metabolic training), you're going to want to consume about up an extra liter of water.
If you are working out in a hot environment, with temperatures above 85, 90 degrees in which you're just constantly sweating, you might wanna add even more water than that. Or if you're working in a place where your daily activity is really physical and you sweat buckets, then you might probably want to keep adding some water to your regular intake. It's easy to underestimate how much water you need, because often when we sweat, that perspiration gets absorbed by the clothes we wear. We don't appear to be sweaty... and we don't feel sweaty either.
There are a couple of little guidelines and indicators, and the age-old saying, "If you're feeling thirsty, you're already dehydrated." I think that's very true. I don't think that I have a great barometer for how hydrated I am, by only checking in with myself. I really look at, "How much water am I drinking that day?" If I consume one, two, three, four water bottles full and keeping track of THAT. Try to stay consistent and see how you feel. And, yes, you'll probably be peeing all the damn time. If I had a cure for that, I would let you know, but I don't.
Hydration, huge component of recovery.
It's a game changer if you get it right. If you get it wrong, it's gonna be very hard to be at peak performance. It's gonna be very hard to recover, very hard to be your strongest. It's gonna be very hard to focus, to feel energetic, so it's worth experimenting with your water intake a little bit.
Coach Josh, signing out here at Training for Warriors Portland. Helping you stay hydrated, so YOU can bring out the warrior within.