Hydration is one of the most critical factors for health and longevity. Have you ever started a new job and was so nervous about it that you forgot entirely about both water and food? You begin to feel a dull ache in your head, which started as a pulsation; developed into a full-blown total headache. Then you realise that you’ve forgotten to drink your quota of water! This happened to me in my last job, and let me tell you, it’s hard to get through the day with a headache due to dehydration.
Many of us run the risk of getting our bodies into dehydration due to either not drinking enough water or losing a lot of sweat from physical activity. Being in an air-conditioned office causes dehydration as well – even if you are not active, dehydration can still hit you with some less than ideal side effects.
What are some of the symptoms you may experience?
Many of us tend to get caught with a mild to progressively severe headache. It can also cause muscle spasms and a lack of concentration. I tend to experience lethargy as well.
When you mix dehydration when working out, you can get yourself into trouble. How is that so? Dehydration causes a mediocre workout, which leads to sore muscles, aches and the inability to recover. You could even injure yourself.
It’s essential to drink before, during and after your workout. It’s not enough to have a few sips of water when training. I follow a hydration strategy every single day, which helps me with the following challenges:
Becoming completely hydrated and ensuring I can work out at the level I want to eliminate the aches, pains and also spasms that can occur with dehydration
Eliminating lethargy and hydrating my skin, hair and nails
Using hydration as a strategy to stop snacking and unnecessary consumption of calories (due to stress, thirst or boredom)
Covering my hunger tracks when intermittently fasting and ensuring I’m constantly hydrating my colon will eliminate any constipation or inability to expel waste products.
My peak workout hydration strategy
To burn the most calories, keep your metabolism going all day, and increasing muscle mass, you MUST have a hydration plan well before you even begin your workout. This factor is even more critical than your pre-workout (although you don’t need anything apart from some added hydration fluid and some Himalayan salt). I’m all in when making the most out of my training program. I only train with weights 3–4 times a week now, and I want to make sure those repetitions count. Below is my hydration plan that works well for me, and I don’t have a problem with losing weight or putting on muscle mass.
Here is my strategy in simple terms
Drink one litre of water before the gym – including a cup of black a coffee
Drink another litre whilst at the gym
Drink 2–3 litres after the gym, and continue to drink throughout the day.
Stop drinking past 7 pm to decrease your risk of constant toilet breaks in the night.
Drinking water during a workout can become part of your rest period. When you finish your set, sip water and keep doing that throughout your workout. I like to save another bottle to top up my water. Usually, one litre isn’t enough in summer. Winter doesn’t see me sweating as much; therefore, I don’t crave as much water.
One of my challenges is that it’s straightforward to drink lots of water when I’m fasting, but as soon as I start eating food again, I find it quite challenging to keep up the same amount of fluid—overcoming this is easy when drinking 1–2 glasses before eating. Preferably 1 hour before the meal, to decrease any chances of developing heartburn. Nevertheless, drinking herbal teas are classified as hydration fluids. I like to pick anything with peppermint, ginger or lemon. These are all very cleansing and ease the sensitivity of my stomach.
Some people prefer to drink protein shakes or even a pre-workout. I like to keep my workouts and hydration simple – with the basics. For me, that’s proper hydration (as I completed the above) and making sure I always drink a hydration formula. Since I’m fasting, I go for a powder formula that is low on calories but won’t break my fast. This stops your body from depleting salt – which is highly likely when you are fasting. It’s even more likely when you are losing weight. Sometimes the water isn’t enough.
This has probably turned into an in-depth water discussion, but I genuinely believe hydration is super important – just as important as your nutrition. Do take it seriously and hydrate yourself from the inside so that the outside reflects the hard work you do. Your skin will glow in the process.