While we all want to perform better, many of us want to look better too. Part of pursuing athletic endeavors is also getting to enjoy the athletic body we craft in the process.
When it comes to weight loss and body composition changes, water consumption is the key-holder to success.
Water is amazingly versatile and plays a role in many major bodily functions. Your hydration levels throughout a day can impact everything from your ability to think of burning fat. Some research has even pointed to a dehydrated state having comparable effects to drunk driving. That is a scary result to think about and shows just how valuable your hydration level is.
How does drinking more water assist in weight loss or body composition changes? Hydration status helps suppress appetite, boost metabolism, and helps your training sessions feel better. This powerful combination puts you on a nice track for weight management.
Hydration is also the one variable that you can have more control of during your day. Busy day at work or at school? Carry a water bottle with you so it is easily accessible. Can't control what you are eating while you travel? You can be prepared with water readily available to assist in the avoidance of overeating.
Let's take a deeper look at how water helps with weight management.
Water Helps Suppress Appetite
One of the mistaken feelings of dehydration is hunger. You might be in search of food when your body actually needs more water. To make sure you are interpreting these signals correctly, aim to start each meal or snack with two cups of water. This will help hydrate your body and make sure that you are interpreting your body's signals correctly! Water passes through your system relatively quickly and will fill your stomach. This filling of the stomach aids in the reduction of hungry feelings and helps keep overeating in check, naturally.
Water helps keep liquid calories in check
With the clients I service, this is one of the major problem areas we encounter. We tend to underestimate how many calories we are getting from liquid sources (ex. coffee, energy drink, sports drink, protein shake, soda). This underestimation can lead to large amounts of overconsumption without even realizing it. Water does not contain any calories and provides value in improved bodily function. This one-two punch helps improve metabolism and keep unwanted or unaware calorie surges in check.
I can speak to this point from personal experience. During my youth, my parents would have my sister and I participate in lent. Each year we would give up something that was a challenge for us. For me, I loved root beer. I ended up giving up soda for the full timeframe and lost 10 lbs in the process. Nothing else changed in my diet during that time. By eliminating a large portion of liquid calories, I had substantial results without changing anything else!
Water helps power your training sessions
Water is critical to delivering electrolytes throughout your body during human movement. Without having water to effectively dissolve the electrolytes and carry them to necessary places, your body will not perform at its best. Ever suffered from that debilitating calf cramp while swimming? It could be because of dehydration and poor electrolyte balance.
With hydration maintained and electrolytes balanced, you can perform at a higher level. This means more effective training and faster results!
Now that we have discussed the "why" behind water consumption and weight management, let's look at some practical solutions to help you achieve success.
To start, I challenge you to build some habits. Habits are the keys to long-term success and allow you to go on autopilot. The first habit I challenge you to implement is to aim for three cups of water as your first task of the day. As soon as you get out of bed, grab three cups of water and down them! Add a little slice of lemon if you want to spruce things up and aim to complete this daily.
Why? Overnight your body is hard at work. You are recovering, processing memories, and preparing for the next waking cycle. This is why we wake up feeling dehydrated. Starting your day with three cups of water kickstarts your rehydration and gets out ahead of that morning cup of coffee many of us rely on.
Next, get comfortable carrying a water bottle with you throughout the day. One of the easiest ways to slip in hydration is to not have an accessible water source. Most of us are fortunate to have amazing water sources at our fingertips and carrying a water bottle allows you to be more proactive with your hydration. I carry an insulated water bottle with me at all times. This way I always have water nearby and can stay on top of my hydration.
Calculate your individual need and then get streaky! When it comes to individual water needs, there are many factors to consider. To keep things simple, I utilize this formula with clients I work with.
Daily Ounces=(bodyweight (lbs) x 2/3) + 10 ounces for every 30 minutes of structured activity
With this formula, you can get a ballpark of your needs. Once you establish this ballpark, the next step is to execute! Set a plan and aim to hit your hydration goal for seven consecutive days. Once you complete this, you can evaluate how you feel and adjust your consumption goal accordingly.
Recently, I completed this activity with a college swim team. In just seven days we had some exciting reported results. When asked if they felt any differently, athletes responded with...
These were just some of the findings with seven consecutive days of hitting their goal numbers. Imagine what a long-term effect could be like!
Want some more tips to power your nutrition? Check out our free Nutrition For Success guide!
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