You should hydrate; all the cool kids are doing it.
by : Danny Hirtler NASM CPT
“Moisture is the essence of wetness, and wetness is the essence of beauty”
– Derek Zoolander
It’s hydration month at Krank! Water covers roughly 70% of our planet and makes up about 60% of our bodies, which we tend to think makes it a pretty big deal. In that spirit we’re going to take this opportunity to teach you all about proper water intake, from how much you should get to the best ways to get it (spoiler alert: it’s drinking).
Helping people hydrate is about as Nashville as it gets. We love it so much that we even made the guy who brought back water boarding the Dean of a law school, so let’s dive right in!
How much water should you drink?
I’m sure you’ve heard that adults should drink eight 8 ounce glasses of water a day (or simply put: half a gallon). That is a good baseline, but an easy and slightly more accurate way to determine recommended water intake, according to experts at the Mayo clinic, is to take your body weight in pounds, divide it by two, and use that number as the recommended intake in ounces.
For instance, a person weighing 125 lbs. should hit their target with 64 oz (half a gallon) whereas an individual weighing 200 lbs. would need roughly 100 oz (3/4 of a gallon).
Why do I need that much water if I’m not sweating?
Glad you asked. The human body loses roughly 10 cups of water a day just through exhaling, perspiring (even if you’re not working up a full sweat during a workout), and other bodily secretions, so even though you may not have been noticeably sweating, you still lost water.
Obviously, the more you sweat the more water you will need to replace. In addition to sweating, traveling has also been shown to consume more water, so especially if you’re traveling by plane make sure to drink at least an additional 8 ounces.
What are electrolytes, why do I need them, and what’s a good source?
Electrolytes are nutrients that serve a variety of important functions (regulating heartbeat, helping muscles contract, etc). The most important electrolytes found within the body include calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium, phosphate, and chloride.
Electrolyte levels tend to change with the water levels in the body. The kidneys (along with several hormones) keep electrolyte levels at a constant; however exercise (more precisely the sweating) causes us lose electrolytes, mainly sodium and potassium.
Most people turn to sports drinks like Gatorade, Powerade, etc. to replace these critical nutrients. There’s really no easy way of saying this, but they’re basically flat soda with some electrolytes added to make them seem healthy.
If you’re looking for a better alternative fluid source of electrolytes I would recommend mineral water (Gerolsteiner, San Pellegrino, etc), or Coconut Water (check the label to try to avoid pasteurized and/or from concentrate). In addition there are several great mix-ins for water you can buy at nutrition shops that provide electrolytes without much of the added garbage.
Given all that, one of the best sources for electrolytes may surprise you, and it also brings me to my final point…
Eat your damn water!
One of the best, if not the best, source for electrolytes (and pretty much all other nutrients) is still food. The rise of processed foods and take out culture has made it incredibly rare for the average person to be lacking in sodium or chloride, even after a good sweat; so instead let’s focus on potassium, magnesium, and calcium.
Honestly, as long as you can largely avoid processed foods you’ll be fine electrolyte wise. Good sources for all of these include leafy greens and vegetables, avocados, nuts, most fruits, and potatoes.
When it comes to food that contains a good amount of water, the same rule applies. If it’s a fruit or a vegetable there’s a good chance it’ll be hydrating.
Here are some of my favorites:
- Berries (Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, etc)
- Melons (especially watermelon, cantaloupe)
- Leafy greens (spinach, iceberg lettuce)
- Apricots and peaches
- Grapefruits and Oranges
- Broccoli and Cauliflower
- Bell peppers and radishes
I hope this helped as a basic guide to hydration. It’s a very complex topic, and there are tons of great books and online resources about it. This should hopefully get you started with some healthier choices. So remember Krankers, grab one of our water bottles and fill them up at least 4 times a day and you should be fine!
See you on the bike and TRX!