You know it is important to stay hydrated, but do you really know how much water plays a role in your health and fitness journey?
Water is required in almost every one of the different processes in the body. The human brain is 95% water, your lungs are 90% water, your blood is 83% water, your muscles are 76% water and your bones are 22% water—and we are 100% sure that staying hydrated is essential for optimal health. If fact, that may even be an understatement. Yet, Americans are chronically dehydrated. It is reported that nearly 75% of U.S. adults are dehydrated on a daily basis. It is no wonder that when we fail to prioritize drinking enough water, we also struggle to reach our health and fitness goals.
If you’ve ever had a health problem, you’ve probably been asked if you’re drinking enough water. Well, the same goes for weight loss. Not seeing the scale budge? Ask yourself if you’re drinking enough water.
When we’re on a health and fitness journey, we tend to focus on eating clean and working out—so much so that we often overlook water consumption. However, water plays such a huge role in weight loss that it could be the one thing holding you back from reaching your goals. Even if we are consistent with hitting the gym and dedicated to eating healthy, we still may not see the results we want to see if we are not consuming enough water. So, for the 75% of us who fall under the chronically dehydrated group, and for those of you out there who are working to lose weight, it’s time to better understand what role water plays in weight loss and some simple ways you can stay properly hydrated every day.
Water helps us reduce our appetite in a few different ways. Your body struggles to differentiate your feelings of hunger and thirst, which means that sometimes when you feel hungry, it could be a sign that you are dehydrated. Have you ever felt hungry, eaten something that usually fills you up and still felt hungry afterward? It’s most likely because your body didn’t need food, it needed water. Thirst disguised as hunger is common for a lot of people who are dehydrated. The problem is, when we confuse the two, often we reach for a snack instead of a glass of water, leading us to consume more calories than necessary. While calories in versus calories out isn’t everything when it comes to weight gain and weight loss, and it certainly isn’t the only way to lose weight, it still plays a role. If we are constantly eating a surplus of calories and our goal is to achieve a healthier BMI, we most likely won’t see the results we are looking for.
Solution: The next time you finish a full, balanced meal and still feel hungry, try drinking a glass of water and wait 20 to 30 minutes before you eat more food. That’s about how long it will take for your body to process the water and for you to know if you are hungry for more food or not.
Bonus: When your stomach feels like it is full, it will send signals to your brain to stop eating. Water takes up space in the stomach, resulting in feelings of fullness, signaling to the brain that it is no longer hungry, therefore reducing hunger.
Water is necessary to burn fat. It is required in the process of metabolizing stored fat and carbohydrates. Without water, your body won’t be able to convert excess carbs and fat into usable energy. This process is called lipolysis. Being dehydrated slows down your metabolism because it won’t have the water it needs to process what you are consuming.
Solution: If you want to keep your body in a consistent fat-burning mode, being properly hydrated should be a priority.
Bonus: Staying hydrated encourages you to drink water instead of sugar-filled drinks, so you’ll also be cutting out empty calories.
Dehydration is one of the main causes of daytime fatigue. When you hit that mid-afternoon slump or you feel like you don’t have the energy to work out, you don’t need to reach for a second coffee or energy drink—you may just need to drink some water! Staying hydrated is going to help keep your energy levels high throughout your entire day, ensuring you have the energy you need to push yourself to work out.
Solution: Put down the energy drink and try sipping on a cup of water. You may find that you don’t even need the extra caffeine anymore.
Bonus: If you do have the energy to work out, staying hydrated will help your muscles recover faster and reduce your feelings of soreness. So, you’ll be ready to go crush another workout sooner than you would if you weren’t properly hydrated.
Need-To-Know Water Facts
Something important to know is that when you feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated. You don’t want to wait to drink water once you feel thirsty. You want to avoid those feelings of thirst. Drink water regularly throughout your day to make sure you prevent dehydration.
Just as important: There is such thing as drinking too much water. In this case, more doesn’t mean better, and it won’t make you healthier, either. When you drink too much water, it can cause your body to expel essential vitamins and minerals you need, throw off your electrolyte levels and dilute your blood.
At Burn Boot Camp, we like to stick to the rule of thumb that you should drink your body weight in ounces of water every day. It may be difficult to suddenly start drinking that much water if you aren’t already regularly drinking enough. In that case, start with drinking half your body weight in ounces and slowly increase that number each week until you reach your water intake goal.
We also realize that drinking plain water isn’t necessarily “fun,” but there are a few ways to make water more exciting.
Tips To Make Water More Exciting:
• Squeeze a lemon into your water.
Bonus: Lemon water is anti-inflammatory, helping to reduce bloating.
• Add a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with some cinnamon.
Bonus: ACV helps boost digestion.
• Sip on fruit-flavored herbal tea.
Bonus: If you prefer a sweet beverage, you can sweeten any of these with stevia.
• Switch it up with sparkling water, as long as it is free of artificial flavors and chemicals.
Bonus: Clean sparkling water is just as hydrating as regular water.