Many people are told that water is great for losing weight. Even though this does have some truth, water is equally as important, if not more important, when trying to build lean muscle mass. Every body builder knows the importance of drinking water during any phase of bulking or cutting diet, and some are seen carrying around a gallon of water everywhere they go. If all of the top body builders are doing it, then there must be something to it right? Well, not always but in this case yes.
Most people just don’t realize that they actually are dehydrated. However if you want to maximize your strength and muscle gains, then you have to be more conscientious of your water intake. As much as 70% of your entire body is made of water, including 83% of your blood, 22% of your bone, and a huge 75% of your muscle. You might say, “Yeah, yeah. I’ve heard that before but drinking so much water doesn’t really do that much for you; besides, you already get enough water from the fluids and food that you and consume, don’t you? Well, no. If you get the proper amount of water into your body every day, you will notice that your strength, energy, and ability to gain muscle will increase significantly!
Also, water has been rated by some to be the second most important nutrient after oxygen. Studies have shown that even a slight decrease in your hydration level may affect your overall health and well being. Even with the dehydration level of around 3% will decrease your performance, energy, and ability to gain muscle mass.
As someone trying to gain lean muscle mass, you want to make sure that you are as strong as possible while in the gym. This is because a big part of gaining muscle has to do with progressive overload. This basically means, that at least every two weeks, you increase the weight that you are using for almost every exercise than you do, even if it is only by 5 pounds. If you are even only slightly dehydrated, then this will hamper your ability to perform what the maximum amount of force that you can. Even just a little bit of dehydration can decrease performance more than 15%. Also, besides just make you weaker in the gym, you might also feel tired and fatigued. So, it is easy to understand that being hydrated when you workout should be one of your top priorities. It is recommended to drink at least a couple of cups of water an hour to an hour and ½ before you workout, then you should also drink some type of fluid during your workout.
Being hydrated does more than just increase your strength at the gym; it also helps protect you from injury. Water helps lubricated joints, and if you are dehydrated and enjoy this will not be properly lubricated and you might have a better chance to get injured. They should be one of your primary concerns as if you get injured during a workout you won’t be able to work out that particular body part for while until it is fully healed (or at least you shouldn’t).
Finally, lifting is just a stimulus to tell your body that you need to gain more muscle mass; proper nutrition is the key to actually putting that muscle on your body from the foods that you are eating. One important aspect of nutrition is glycogen replenishment. This basically means eating carbs after your workout so that your body can turn the carbs into glucose and push them into your glycogen storages. What this does is make you stronger for the next time that you work out. During your workout her body takes that glucose and turns it into ATP and creatine phosphate. However, with every 1 g of carbohydrate that you consume, your body must store 3 to 4 g of water with it before can get put into your glycogen storages. Therefore, if you’re not drinking enough water while you are consuming a lot of carbs, you might again be hampering your strength gains.
So what exactly are the requirements of water for a person? Well, if you weight train at a high intensity for 3 to 4 days per week, and you can use this simple formula: your body weight times 0.6 = the amount of water that you should take in per day in oz. For example, the 180 pound person times 0.6 equals 108 ounces of water per day.
Hopefully by now you see the importance of keeping hydrated so you can make the best strength gains, protect yourself from injury, and replenish your glycogen adequately. Make sure a drink plenty of water every day to support your overall well being and health!