How to Hydrate for Weight Loss & Fitness
When it's hot outside, it's easy to get dehydrated, especially if you exercise on a regular basis. But staying hydrated is essential for reaching your fitness & weight loss goals.
How it Helps with Fitness
Muscle is made up of about 80% water and needs that water to function properly. Even a 1% drop in optimal hydration makes it harder for muscles to contract effectively, reducing strength and endurance.
Naturally, we sweat more as temperature and exercise intensity increase. Drinking water to replace the fluids we lose through sweat helps maintain normal muscle function, enhance sports performance and reduce the risk of heat stress.
But how do you avoid that sloshy feeling of too much water in your stomach while working out? The best way is to stay hydrated throughout the day. Yes, you can drink water before, during & after your workout, but if you're already well-hydrated, you won't need to guzzle too much at one time.
How it Helps with Weight Loss
Staying hydrated all day has another great benefit as well: it helps with appetite regulation and weight control. We often think we're hungry when we're actually thirsty, but drinking water can reduce those false hunger pangs and help you feel more satisfied between meals.
How Much Do You Need?
How much water you need varies per individual and depends on a number of factors ranging from age, gender, height, weight, ambient temperature, humidity and the intensity, duration & frequency of your workouts.
64 ounces of water is adequate for most people. If you exercise regularly, you may want to increase that a bit. A good rule of thumb is to aim to drink half your body weight in ounces daily. So if you weigh 200 pounds, aim for 100 ounces throughout the day. If you weigh 150 pounds, aim for 75. (Note: more does not necessarily mean better. There is danger in drinking too much water.)
Tips to Drink More Water
If you find it challenging to stay hydrated because you don't like the taste of water, or you just forget to drink, these tips may help:
- Flavor your water with herbs or fruit such as mint, basil, lemon, lime, berries, cucumber
- Try flavored mineral waters (without sugar or artificial sweeteners)
- Drink herbal teas
- Set alarms on your phone throughout the day to remind you to drink
- Fill up your water bottles each night so you'll be ready to go the next day.