Every advanced bodybuilder will praise drinking water benefits and you will likely see them with this big 1 gallon water bottle while they are giving it a sweat at the gym.
Water is the major constituent of the body: 60% of the total weight of the human body (40% of intracellular water and 20% of extracellular water).
What are water and its electrolytes?
The benefits of water are numerous. To name some of them, we can assert that water is essential for proper digestion, nutrient absorption and chemical reactions.
When it comes to workout, water benefits are found in water retention in the muscle to get more muscle volume, avoid cramps…
No less important is the ability of water to eliminate waste material out of our bodies.
So water plays several roles: hydration, cellular exchanges, good diuresis, acidobasic balance. But water balance in the body can only be made possible by electrolytes such as sodium, potassium, or chloride.
Those call and quote electrolytes are actually nothing else but some minerals. The difference is that electrolytes are ionized minerals.
Simply put, some minerals in the water have a positive electrical charge – like sodium and potassium -, whilst others a negative electrical charge – like Chloride.
Thus, the combination of water and minerals make intracellular / extracellular water balance possible.
How does water work?
The water cycle in the organism is about loss and gain. Throughout the day, we lose water across several more or less intense activities that we have to simply compensate by drinking or eating.
Yeah, I did say “eating” to rehydrate. Here’s how it works.
Water losses are estimated at about 2.5L per day:
• Urinary loss: 1400mL / day.
• Fecal loss: 200mL / day.
• Respiratory loss: 800 mL / day.
• Dermal loss: 100mL / day.
In that way, daily water intakes must compensate for these losses. So, the organism makes up for it in multiple ways:
• by drinking: 1000 to 1500mL
• by extracting water contained in food: 1300mL.
• production by the body itself: 300mL (yes the body knows how to make water!)
For those who exercise or play sports, drink plenty of water before, during, and after the activity to avoid overheating and to stay hydrated. You want to replace whatever fluids you lost due to exercise as soon as possible.
You want to be drinking even when you aren’t thirsty. By the time you are thirsty, you have already become dehydrated. the moment you have lost about 2% of your body weight from water is when you will start to feel thirsty. By this time it is too late and performance (especially in sports) will decline.
How shall I consume water and electrolytes?
The need for water will be different in function of several things:
- Evolution of the needs with the physiology (age, pregnant woman, suckling, old, …),
- The environment (external heat, …) or otherwise in case of disease.
So just down below a way to calculate your daily needs in water:
- Teen: 1mL / Kcal or 4,18KJ.
- Adult: 1mL / Kcal or 4,18KJ.
- Pregnant woman: 1mL / Kcal or 4,18KJ.
- Nursing woman: 1mL / Kcal or 4,18KJ + 500mL.
- Elderly: 1.5L / day, half of it by drinking water.
- Sports high level: 1mL / Kcal or 4,18KJ.
As for electrolytes, you’ll find them in any mineral water bottle you buy. A good habit is to vary water bottle brands so as to have different amount and types of electrolytes.
The benefits of drinking water in a nutshell
In three words: Water is VITAL!
So, if you don’t go to the gym naked, you don’t go there without a bottle of water either.
Drink at least 2L of water a day, weather you work out or not.
Boschmann, M., Steiniger, J., Hille, U., Tank, J., Adams, F., Sharma, A. M., … & Jordan, J. (2003). Water-induced thermogenesis. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 88(12), 6015-6019.
Sawka, M. N., & Montain, S. J. (2000). Fluid and electrolyte supplementation for exercise heat stress. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 72(2), 564s-572s.
Campbell, S. (2004). Dietary Reference Intakes: Water, Potassium, Sodium, Chloride, and Sulfate. Clinical Nutrition Insight, 30(6), 1-hyhen.
Parretti, H. M., Aveyard, P., Blannin, A., Clifford, S. J., Coleman, S. J., Roalfe, A., & Daley, A. J. (2015). Efficacy of water preloading before main meals as a strategy for weight loss in primary care patients with obesity: RCT. Obesity, 23(9), 1785-1791.
Gardner, J. W. (2002). Death by water intoxication. Military Medicine, 167(5), 432.