Since 70% of your body is made up of water, and since you lose a significant amount of water during exercise through sweat, it only makes sense that you will need plenty of replenishment throughout the day. As essential as hydration is, it can be far too easy to skip out on drinking the amount you need to function at your best. Healthy hydration habits won’t just help you in the gym; your mental focus, energy levels, mood, and overall health are all benefited by adequate hydration. Here are some tips to help make achieving this easier.
Start thinking ahead about your water consumption. If your workout is in the evening, make sure you are drinking plenty of water throughout the whole day. If you try to cram your water consumption right before your workout, you will end up feeling sluggish in the gym and be deprived of energy. Being adequately hydrated throughout the day helps your body absorb nutrients better, improves energy, and helps with motivation by improving brain function. If your workout is in the morning, don’t forget to drink water before you go to sleep. You can set reminders on your phone if you have trouble remembering this on your own.
It may sound like an oxymoron to think a drink could make you thirstier, yet certain beverages have dehydrating properties. Coffee is a commonly consumed drink for energy due to its caffeine content. However, the caffeine and acidity will cause dehydration. While a cup of brewed or iced coffee has plenty of water to make up for the dehydration properties, be sure to pair a small espresso or latte with a glass of water. Alcohol is probably the most notorious dehydrating drink. A good rule of thumb to follow with alcohol to avoid dehydration, and a terrible hangover, is to drink one glass of water for each alcoholic drink consumed.
While drinking water when you are desperately thirsty is always refreshing, drinking enough water to stay fully hydrated throughout the day can feel like a chore. However, drinking plain water is far from your only hydration option. Try infusing your water with cucumbers, strawberries, or lemons to add a refreshing flavor. Making a delicious protein shake as a snack or to replace a meal is another excellent source of hydration that you will likely find more exciting than carrying around a big water bottle.
One of the worst myths out there is that water disrupts hydration because it alters the stomach’s PH levels. In reality, water helps soften your food in your stomach and greatly aids in digestion and nutrient absorption. Water is especially crucial for protein-dense meals. High concentrations of protein in your diet will actually make you dehydrated, without necessarily making you feel thirstier. If you’re involved in heavy weight training and function on a high-protein diet, it’s crucial to increase your water consumption.