Drink up Buttercup
by Jari Love
How much water should you drink?
“Drink up buttercup” is not just a saying for Friday after work. In Calgary this weekend, it is hot, hot, hot and I love it! The sun is good for the soul. But the sun and heat can quickly leave you dehydrated, and when you’re dehydrated your body doesn’t function as it should. I want to make sure you’re drinking enough water throughout the day, especially when it’s hot.
When you’re body is dehydrated your body doesn’t function as it should. Water acts as a solvent, as a transporter of nutrients through your body, as a catalyst for the many chemical reactions that occur in your body, as a lubricant (for your joints and muscles), as a temperature regulator, and as a mineral source. So you can see the importance of drinking water is much more than quenching your thirst.
Thirst is sometimes a poor indicator of hydration status for those involved in intensive exercise and training. Thirst isn’t perceived until 1-2% of your bodyweight is lost. At that point, if you’re exercising, performance decreases have already occurred. If you’re not exercising, mental focus and clarity may drop off.
Here’s what happens when you lose a percentage of your body water and the consequences:
- 0.5% Lost: Increased strain on the heart
- 1%: Reduced aerobic endurance
- 3%: Reduced muscular endurance
- 4%: Reduced muscle strength, reduced motor skills, heat cramps
- 5%: Heat exhaustion, cramping, fatigue, reduced mental capacity
- 6%: Physical exhaustion, heatstroke, coma
- 10-20%: Death*
Wow, if that isn’t a warning to continually be drinking water, I don’t know what is.
How much water you need to drink depends on how much you weigh. When you have more body cells, more blood, more muscles, more fat, you’re body just needs more. Here’s a simple calculation to determine how much water you should drink:
- Your body weight X 0.67 = #ounces
- Take #ounces/8= # cups
- Take #Cups/4 = # liters
- For example, if you’re 175 pounds, you take 175 X 0.67 / 8 /4 = 3.7 liters of water
This is how much water your body needs to function. If you’re exercising, especially if there’s heat, your fluid needs might double. I like to tell people that for every 15 minutes of exercise, stop and drink a cup of water. Then prior to exercise, drink at least 500ml (2 cups) to prevent dehydration. After you exercise, you need to replace the lost sodium and electrolytes with drinking 2 cups-4cups of water per hour after exercise, depending on how much you sweat.
The best way to get more water in is to fill up a 1 liter bottle of water and carry it around with you all day and be constantly taking sips. You should be refilling it based on your water needs. If you haven’t refilled your bottle in a while, it’s time to drink up buttercup!
*Based on Precision Nutrition, Dr. John Berardi
Jari Love – original creator of Get RIPPED! DVD series and group exercise classes. The hot-selling and critically acclaimed Get RIPPED! series enables individuals of any fitness level to burn up to three times more calories than the traditional weight-training program, and has received rave reviews from fitness critics throughout North America since the first title debuted in late 2005.