Chances are, you aren’t drinking enough water. This is especially so if you’re working out, using a sauna or hot tub, stretching, a coffee drinker, have an evening drink, sip on detox tea, or even getting massages. You may be reading that list, checking off half of the eight things listed that you do, and thinking “wait, I thought most of that was good and some of that wasn’t that bad.” Pat yourself on the back because you’re right, you health sleuth, you. But as they relate to hydration, these things either dehydrate you or they require an amplified amount of water to work effectively.
To break all of this down, we’re going to start with the basics. Your minimum water intake should be 50% of your body weight, in ounces, per day. Optimally the number of ounces should be closer to 75% of your body weight. So, do this with me and find your number. For example, my weight typically hangs out around 130lbs. My surviving but not thriving water intake should be around 65 fl oz per day. And my thriving amount is 97.5 fl oz per day. My trusty steed of a water bottle holds 25 fl oz. So I need approximately four a day. Hopefully you followed along like we’re in a fifth grade math class because that’s what we’re about, Granger Fitness Fam, learning and growing.
Now, the things listed above, can be split into two categories. The first being “dehydrating,” the second being “not working as effectively.” Some of these things do have overlap and could exist in both categories, but for the point I’m trying to make: STAY HYDRATED, this split works.
Firstly, anything caffeinated, with alcohol, or that involves sweating is dehydrating to your body. With the drinks, aim to replace each ounce. And with sweating, it isn’t an exact science. You can’t measure each drop of sweat that comes off of you and add it all up, so just be conscious that you are expelling liquid and that it needs to be replaced. I, for example, am a two-cup-of-joe morning person and workout daily. My optimal water intake is 97.5 fl oz of water per day, but because I have two 10 fl oz cups of coffee in the morning, I need to tack on 20 extra fl oz of water. This brings my total to 117.5 fl oz per day. With the workouts, as mentioned before, the sweating isn’t an exact science unless you have the time to be that meticulous. So, for me, I just make sure I’ve had at least a bottle before my workout, and that I finish whatever is left in my bottle after my workout.
Secondly, the things that aren’t working as effectively unless you’re well hydrated are involved with detoxifying your body. Detox teas, stretching, massages, hot tubs and saunas are the main ones in this category. Detox teas make you expel a lot (aka, many bathroom trips), and should be replaced ounce by ounce like the coffee example. Saunas and hot tubs make you sweat and release toxins. When you are sweating, you need to replace the hydration that is lost. When you’re releasing toxins you need to flood your body with water so that it can use the water to expel the toxins that have been released. Stretching and massages come in here as well. No, they don’t make you sweat, but the actions release toxins from your muscles. And, to get the toxins out of your body, you need to hydrate. Drink plenty of water to help your body effectively use tools like stretching, massages, and saunas.
For many people, a hundred+ ounces of water per day seems like a daunting feat. But as it becomes a habit, you won’t even think about it. And, as it’s becoming a habit, thinking of it as accomplishing a goal for the day gives you a nice little dopamine drip and makes it fun.
To get into the hydration station, I recommend buying a BPA free water bottle that you love. I’ve gotten my last two from S’well because they’re a socially conscious company with the goal of making clean water accessible everywhere. Once you have a nice bottle you like, carry it everywhere. When it’s right by your side and always in view, you’re much more likely to sip on water than you are if your glasses are closed up on your cupboard and you have to think about going to get it. Do everything you can to make this habit easy.