BLUF: Stay hydrated for maximum wellness and performance in The Lab and Life!
Many of us are fully-acquainted with the concept of “drinking enough water.” We won’t dive-in (pun intended) to the discussion of how much is enough/not enough/too much. Rather, let’s discuss what’s happening to us when we are/aren’t getting that “enough” amount in our bodies.
To start, let’s remind ourselves that we are made of cells; everything in us is made… of cells. At the cellular level, we (those individual cells) must get “sufficient” amounts of three things in order to survive: oxygen, glucose, and WATER. So already, if our cells don’t get water, they die, and that’s not good! Thankfully, our bodies are resourceful and pull water from the food we eat, the coffee we drink, and of course the WATER we drink, as well. To keep your cells happy and healthy, they need to be “fed” a consistent supply of water.
Just a 1-3% loss of water (normal during a typical day and definitely during an intense WOD) means a fairly significant impact on memory, mood, anxiety, focus, and “energy.”
A general rule of thumb out there is to ensure you’re drinking around two liters of water a day… if this works for you, outstanding. Otherwise, drink water when your body tells you to (when you feel thirsty), ensure your urine doesn’t look like coca-cola, and force .5-1 liter down after WODs because you know your cells just used a lot of water to move your body around. A common (perhaps military-esque) habit is to chug a full liter of water moments after waking up; however temporarily unpleasant, it definitely provides a boost of energy first thing in the day by replenishing your water stores that were used up by your cells while you slept. In the winter (or out camping), it is especially pleasant and warming to chug a warmed liter of water first thing; give it a try and notice the energy!
Ever notice that you drink a lot of coffee but aren’t feeling super dehydrated? A misnomer out there also may lie with coffee/caffeine and dehydration. We know caffeine is a diuretic and increases urination and terding (official lingo), but consider that one’s caffeine intake is usually in a liquid form… and that your awesome cells draw water from almost everything you take-in… so it may be that the water content of your caffeine-filled drink balances the amount of water you will then lose from the caffeine… so it may just balance each other out.
Interesting info on water benefits and whole caffeine/dehydration bit can be found here (and all over the Googler):