Dear Fellow ALPHA,
The new fad is talking about “macro’s” which is referring to fats, carbs and protein intake. The one “macro” I believe many people are overlooking might be the most essential “nutrient” - water. After being in the health and fitness industry for over 25 years I can say without a doubt that water is one of the most overlooked and under appreciated nutrients.
When consulting with clients, I frequently hear complaints about reduced strength, performance and moods. I also hear complaints of fatigue, headaches and joint pain. When I hear of these complaints, the first question I ask is how their water intake has been over the past few weeks. My question is frequently greeted with an eye roll and the response “It's great! I drink lots of water.” That’s when I follow up with “Ok good, can you tell me precisely how much water you drink on a daily basis?” The second question is usually not so easy for people to answer.
To many, these questions may seem juvenile and not what someone might expect from a performance consultant. I mean, we all know that we need to drink water, right? Well, the research says our actions show otherwise. A recent study published by CBS stated 75% of Americans fall short everyday and even mild dehydration can cause low moods, joint pain, headaches and fatigue.
So now, how silly does my question seem?
Armed with the knowledge that 2/3rds of Americans are chronically dehydrated, I decided to write 3 simple steps that you can follow which will help you stay hydrated.
1. Measure your intake
The easiest way to know how much water you are drinking is to measure it. However, first you need to know how much you need. The Institute of Medicine has set that number at 125 oz for men and 91 oz for women or about 15 cups or 11 cups, respectively. Now that you are aware of how much water is recommended, it's important to make it easy to count your ounces.
Buy a water bottle.
Personally, I have a 32 oz water bottle which sits on my desk in plain view, it just stares at me. Urging me to drink. Having this constant reminder is the only way I will remember to drink the recommended amount of water. If it's not on my desk, I will go hours without "thinking" about it. Plus, having a 32oz bottle makes it easy for me to count my ounces I know that I have to refill it 4 times, which gives me 128 oz. This technique allows me to fill my water requirements and it gives me specificity. I know exactly how much water I have consumed.
2. Bookend your caffeine
Timing your caffeine intake is a critical component to staying hydrated. Caffeine, and alcohol for that matter, inhibit the body's natural hydrating hormone, ADH. When ADH is inhibited - turned off- our body virtually releases all of its "stores" of water. This is why you may feel the need to use the restroom after having a cup of coffee or an alcoholic drink.
With so many wonderful benefits to caffeine, besides making most people - including yours truly - a little more friendly, giving up coffee or caffeine laden products isn't an option. The best way to continue consuming caffeine and stay hydrated is to "bookend it." What this means is have your coffee in the morning and then if you would like another cup or two wait until the late afternoon. In between, be diligent at consuming your daily requirements.
This way you can still consume your favorite morning latte and stay hydrated at the same time. If you need an extra boost throughout the day, I recommend taking a product which is caffeine free. Personally, I take NEURO Z3 as it was formulated specifically to provide mental and physical energy without caffeine.
3. Be consistent
This may seem like a "no-brainer" but sometimes life can get hectic. Before we know it we have gone days without consuming enough water. Many times this is when we can fall prey to the corner coffee shop, extra scoop of pre-workout or energy drink, which as you now know, will only propagate our dehydrated state.
The fourth "macro" is just as important as the "big three" of protein, fat and carbs. The next time you hear someone talking with specificity about their keto, paleo or whatever diet plan they are on, ask them how much water they are drinking. Your knowledge on hydration may be the missing link they need in their fitness and health goals.
Until next time,
Attack your life with passion!
Co-Founder and CEO, RAM
1. Mundell, E. J. “Are Americans Drinking Enough Water Every Day?” CBS News, CBS Interactive, 26 Apr. 2016, www.cbsnews.com/news/are-americans-drinking-enough-water-every-day/.
2. Mann, Denise. “Even Mild Dehydration May Cause Emotional, Physical Problems.” WebMD, 20 Jan. 2012, www.webmd.com/women/news/20120120/even-mild-dehydration-may-cause-emotional-physical-problems#1.