There is no shortage of articles, blog posts, and research-backed studies that prove water is extremely important for a healthy, strong, high performing body; yet 43% of Americans drink less than 4 cups of water a day (or 32 oz.) according to the Center for Disease Control. And when about 60-65% of the male body is made up of water, drinking a measly 4 cups is not going to fuel the body of a high-performing rockstar of a man, or even a couch potato for that matter.
Water is quite possibly the most under utilized source of energy for the human body on the planet. Although, your body doesn’t use water as actual ‘energy’, it plays a large part in turning food into energy, as well as hundreds of other processes of the body.
Technically protein, carbohydrates and fat are really the only sources of actually energy for the human body, but water helps to digest, absorb, transport and convert food into energy. In addition to transporting essential nutrients to our dude cells for energy, water also helps to regulate your body’s temperature through sweating, it helps build and maintain cellular integrity, it flushes waste out of the body and it acts as a shock absorber for the brain and spinal cord.
Without water your body will lack the energy to operate, it will overheat, and basically all the stuff that moves around in your body (like blood) will become sludge.
To put this lack of hydration into perspective, let’s tell a story:
Imagine that you are in your backyard relaxing in the sun and enjoying a nice summer day. While catching those soft, warm rays of sun you happen to look up at your house and to your terror, you see your kitchen on fire. Flames shatter the window and burst out of the window frame. You have no idea how it happened but realize that your girlfriend is inside taking a nap, and your dog is in his crate. You jump up quickly, and after fumbling your cell phone, you call 9-1-1. After hanging up the phone you try to find a way into the house but the flames are fiercely roaring through the door, blocking your entrance.
The fire department is right around the corner so it only takes a few minutes for them to get to the house. When they arrive, the firefighters quickly jump out and in order for them to enter the house they have to spray it down with the fire hose. They begin to scurry through their procedures: two firefighters go to the closest fire hydrant to prep it for the hose, two others begin to unravel the hose and one more is there for support.
It only takes about a minute to get everything set to let the hose rip. You hear one the firefighters count down from “3, 2, 1…”, then, nothing happens. No water.
A few seconds later a trickle of water drips out of the fire hose. Your heart drops to the floor. There is no water to cool the flames, there is no water to allow the firefighters to get in to save your girlfriend and dog.
Luckily, the firefighters realize that they forgot to open a valve and quickly rectify the situation. The hose releases a gush of water putting out the flames around the door; two firefighters rush in and a few seconds later come running out with your girlfriend and dog.
The point of this story IS to scare you. Water helps your body function, and without it you risk death. Now, most of us won’t get to this point because we inadvertently consume water through foods such as fruits and vegetables, drinks such as soda and coffee. But even though these foods give our body a little water for use it’s usually not enough.
It’s like trying fill your car’s 12-quart radiator with 2 quarts of coolant and trying to drive across Arizona. Not a good idea. Not to mention that caffeine drinks such as soda and coffee are actually diuretics so they dehydrate you more than the hydrate you.
How Much Water Should I Drink?
So let’s get back to the positive effects of water and how much you should be drinking. Even though water might not actually give you energy, being properly hydrated will make you feel surprisingly super-heroish.
The amount of water you should drink depends on a few different factors. The first is how much you weigh. Using the very rough estimate of half of your body weight (pounds) in ounces of water
Bodyweight (lbs) / 2 = # ounces of water per day
ie. 200lbs / 2 = 100 ounces of water per day
This is a start. And by doing this for a week it will probably be enough to give most of you growing Gents out there the pep you need. Seriously, try drinking half your bodyweight in ounces of water every day for a week. We bet you a mustache curl, that you will feel quite good indeed.
The next is to look at the climate that you are in. People in Tucson, Arizona in the summer are going to need quite a bit more water than those in Minnesota in the winter – purely because they are losing a ton of water through sweating. While there is no magic number for ounces per pound in hot weather, use the general signs of dehydration as your markers:
- Increased thirst.
- Dry mouth and swollen tongue.
- Palpitations (feeling that the heart is jumping or pounding)
Another huge fact that you need to be aware of is that hydration for bouts of exercise should be added to the half your bodyweight equation and additional water for extreme heat.
The general rule of thumb in the world of exercise science is to drink 8 ounces of water for every 20 minutes of exercise. If you plan on exercising in hot weather for more than 40 minutes, skip the water and go for a sports drink at the 40 minute mark. Sports drinks have electrolytes in them which will basically flush more water into the bloodstream than water alone.
If you want to be a high-performing man in business, fitness and life, you need to drink plenty of water. If you want to be healthy, lose weight and generally feel great, it starts with drinking plenty of clean water. If you don’t want to feel like a meathead or set off the Lunk Alarm (F-You Planet Fitness) by carrying around a gallon of water – then grab a BPA-free water bottle and fill’er-up a few times a day.
Until next time (or until you read one of our previous fitness posts) – Stay Awesome!