How Much Water Should You Drink Each Day?

September 24, 2021 3 min read

How Much Water Should You Drink Each Day?

We all hear about how important it is to stay hydrated during exercise, but nobody ever really says how to accomplish that, let alone how much water you should drink each day.

Today, we’ll cover why hydration is so critical to not only killing it in the gym, but recovering faster, building more muscle, and experiencing a higher quality of life.

Why is Water Important?

The human body is ~60% water, and it’s essential for countless biological processes, including:

  • Kidney function
  • Cognitive function
  • Core temperature regulation
  • Blood volume regulation
  • Blood pressure
  • Waste removal
  • Digestion

Furthermore, being dehydrated can impair the muscle ability to contract and relax, which ultimately hampers your workout (not to mention your pumps) and accelerates the onset of fatigue.

In fact, some research shows that power generation may become compromised after 3% dehydration.[1,2]

Other studies find that the total number of repetitions completed were significantly lower when the participants were dehydrated.[3] To make matters worse, those same individuals felt that the exercises seemed hard, and they needed longer to recover between sets.[3]

Other side effects of dehydration (even as little as 2%) include:

  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Dry mouth, eyes and lips
  • Joint pain
  • Constipation
  • Increased risk of injury

Benefits of Proper Hydration

Increased Performance in the Gym

We all know that proper hydration is critical to optimal performance in the gym.

Basically, drinking enough fluids (water and electrolytes) helps you lift more weight, have greater endurance, and create more overload, which results in more muscle and strength gains!

Better Digestion

Water plays a key role in the digestive process, and drinking enough fluids during the day facilitates better nutrient breakdown and absorption, which ultimately fuels better workouts, recovery, and muscle growth!

Supports Weight Loss

Water fuels countless processes in the body, which helps everything run more smoothly, including your metabolism.

Research also shows that drinking water before a meal may help prevent overeating during mealtime.[4]

Improved Cognitive Function

Ever felt “cloudy” or “foggy headed?”

Then, chances are high that you were dehydrated.

Even being moderately dehydrated can impair focus, memory, mental processing, and executive functioning.

How Much Water Should I Drink?

Something to keep in mind is that individual hydration needs will vary based on a number of factors, including age, height, weight, physical activity, environment, and more.

General recommendations for active individuals that train hard are to consume between 3.5-7 liters per day.

For those of you not used to drinking a lot of fluids during the day, or those who might not have a firm grasp on how much water that is, don’t worry.

You don’t have to only drink water to hit your hydration goals.

The water naturally found in fruits, veggies, milk, etc. all count towards your daily fluid needs. Hell, even the water used to mix your pre workout drink, amino acid supplement, and post workout protein shake contribute to hydration.

Something else to keep in mind is that you should be mindful of drinking fluids throughout the day, not just immediately pre and post workout. Hydration is a round-the-clock process. Plus, drinking enough fluids throughout the day can also help suppress cravings in between meals.

References

  1. Kraft JA, Green JM, Bishop PA, Richardson MT, Neggers YH, & Leeper JD (2012). The influence of hydration on anaerobic performance: a review. Res Q Exerc Sport, 83(2) , 282-92.
  2. Jones LC, Cleary MA, Lopez RM, Zuri RE, & Lopez R (2008). Active dehydration impairs upper and lower body anaerobic muscular power. J Strength Cond Res, 22(2), 455-63.
  3. Kraft JA, Green JM, Bishop PA, Richardson MT, Neggers YH, & Leeper JD (2010). Impact of dehydration on a full body resistance exercise protocol. Eur J Appl Physiol, 109(2) , 259-67.
  4. An, R. & ‎McCaffrey, J. (2016) Plain water consumption in relation to energy intake and diet quality among US adults, 2005–2012. J Hum Nutr Diet. 29, 624– 632 doi: 10.1111/jhn.12368