We all know the severe effects of dehydration (including severe muscle pain…), and we all know that water helps build muscle.
Now some bodybuilders take it to the extreme and drink a gallon of water a day. But is that necessary?
How much water should you drink a day if you exercise?
Well, the answer is kind of simple. Drink as much water as you lost during the exercise, and drink some extra on top of that to help your body as it recovers after the workout. But overall, I recommend just under a gallon of water a day. A great way to test if you’re hydrated is just the color of your urine, if it’s yellow- drink more!
Be careful to not overhydrate though, if it’s clear, drink less!
Replace What You Lost Exercising
Thankfully, there’s not a whole lot of weird math to figure out how much water should you drink a day if you exercise.
The simple truth? Replace what you lost exercising.
Now, obviously, I don’t expect you to sit there with a massive empty tub under you while you workout to catch all your sweat so you can measure it.
But, if you’re a BIG sweater, you’ll have to be a big drinker too. Now, that doesn’t mean if you don’t sweat a lot you shouldn’t drink, but just be prepared to drink more if you sweat more.
But, How Can You Measure This?
There’s a few ways you can measure how much water you lost during your workout.
The first way is, well, the easiest, the scale.
Measure Your Water Loss with a Scale
Simply put, if you come in the gym weighing 150 lbs, and leave at 147 lbs, that means you’ve lost 3 lbs of water.
While this isn’t always exact, it’s a good rule to follow. And I like this method the most because you’ll be able to see how much water you really lose during exercise.
Most people really underestimate how much water they lose. After some wrestling practices, I found myself losing nearly 4 pounds of water every practice. If I didn’t drink water right away, things would be bad. (Work was NOT fun, I’d never felt so thirsty in my life)
4 lbs is nearly 64 ounces or nearly 8 glasses of water.
When you sweat, you usually don’t think it’s a lot. But when you see the numbers on the scale move, that’s when it scares you.
And if you’ve lost weight before, you know how much 4 lbs can be.
Simply drink enough water to replace that weight lost!
Your Body Tells You How Hydrated You Are
Your body tells you how hydrated you are, and you can use this to your advantage after a work out to accurately reflect your hydration level.
Firstly, your urine is the most important way to determine your hydration level. If it’s extremely yellow, that’s very bad, generally- you want it to be clear.
Additionally, your skin can be a good indicator of your dehydration. If you’re able to pull the skin on the back of your hand back comfortably and it returns fast, you’re good.
But if you’re extremely dehydrated, you’ll find that the skin on the back of your hand is almost impossible to pull back and will give you a ton of pain.
Drink a Little More Water After To Be Sure
I covered this in my other article, but your body burns more calories after a work out, even when you’re not working out. This is because of the increased metabolic demand to repair muscles and recover your cardiovascular system.
So always drink a little more water to just be sure.
And it’s always a good thing to stay hydrated, your doctor will not be angry at you for being healthy!
Benefits of Drinking This Water
There are many benefits to drinking this water during, before, and after your workout. So don’t skip it! Here are a few:
- Lubricates your joints so you have less pain when you’re working out
- Makes you feel more energized
- Is phenomenal for your health
- Helps you build muscle
Well Tommy, What’s a Good Amount of Water to Drink?
Honestly, if you want a good amount of water to drink everyday, I’d recommend just about under a gallon.
It depends on person to person, but that’s generally enough throughout the day to keep everything in check.
If you find yourself overhydrated, just drink less. But it’s always safer to be hydrated than dehydrated.
So, how much water should you drink a day if you exercise?
Actually, just enough to replace the water you lost and a little more. You can always go for the gallon of water a day challenge, but truthfully, just rehydrate yourself and you’ll be fine!
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