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How Much Water Do I Need To Drink For Building Muscle Or Losing Fat?

Our bodies lose water when we sweat, urinate, breathe, and have bowel movements. Medical experts disagree on exactly how much water we need to keep hydrated, and some even claim that we don’t need much beyond the water in the food we drink. However if you are working out to lose fat or build muscle, you definitely need to drink added water.

So how much water do you need to drink?

Here are two simple clues that help indicate you are drinking enough water:

1. Lack of thirst—if you rarely get thirsty, you are probably doing a good job at hydrating.
Tip: don’t wait to be thirsty to drink. To keep your brain and muscles working at their optimum levels drink before you get thirsty.

2. Clear urine—if your urine is dark, cloudy, or has a strong odor, drink up!

Tip: It may be light yellow, but you should be able to “read a newspaper” through it...not that I’m suggesting you put a newspaper in the plumbing, but you get the point. If you find you don’t have to urinate at least every two hours then you are probably not drinking enough.

When exercising you need to drink more water than on days off. And you will notice that some days you need to drink more than others. If it is hot or humid out you will actually need to drink in more water, but dry climates and working out indoors in the winter with heated air also requires more water.

A good rule of thumb for determining how much water to drink is to take your body weight in pounds and multiply it by 65%. If you are in a hotter climate you may need to bump that up to 75%, in cooler climates you may be able to drop it to 55%. Start at 65% and then adjust the amount you need based on the clues above and how you feel.

What is the best thing to drink to keep you hydrated?

Mostly water—it is the main thing your body needs. Drink plenty of pure water. You can buy bottled water, but a lot of times that is no better than tap water, and you’re needlessly using a lot of plastic. You can filter your own water a lot less expensively and put it in your own bottles.

On days when you work out for more than an hour, you will want to also replace some of the electrolytes you are losing. The main component to this is sodium, but you also need a small amount of carbohydrate in order for the cells to receive the sodium. Use the hour as a rule of thumb—if you are working out in the sun, it is humid out etc then you may need to replace your electrolytes with a shorter workout, too.

If you are working out more than 4 hours in a day then you definitely want to look into replacing your electrolytes—mostly sodium. The best way is to use good sea salt. Avoid regular table salt; it has been processed, removing most of the minerals, and adding components that keep it caking.

You can get the balance of carb and electrolytes you need with a premade sports drink or by making your own. If you buy a sports drink, read the label. Look for a low level (4-6%) of carbohydrate in the form of glucose in the drink. If it is too high, then dilute it with water.

You can save some money by creating your own drinks by taking fruit juice and diluting it with water and adding a little sea salt. Or instead of fruit juice you can dilute honey, agave nectar, or even sugar...allow about 1 tablespoon of sweetener and a pinch of salt per 8 ounces of water.

Start your day off with a glass of pure water. If you work out later in the day be sure to drink water before your workout. For peak performance be hydrated when you start, and keep hydrated during your workout, and keep hydrating after your workout and all day long.

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