How Much Water Do I Need & Can You Drink Too Much Water?
According to estimates, the average male adult needs approximately 12 cups of water per day, the average female just about nine cups. These numbers don’t apply to plain old water as our bodies are able to get water from juices, and even many solid food items, however for those serious about peak performance and optimal health you really can’t go wrong using water as your primary fluid source. For those engaged in intensive regular exercise, especially high intensity training more water is needed on a daily basis- an increase that has been validated by several dietetic associations over the years.
Reasons for increased water intake are:
• high temperature
• low humidity
• high altitude
• high-fiber diet
• increased fluid losses as a result of diarrhea or vomiting
• caffeine or alcohol consumption (Alcohol and caffeine are diuretics which means they cause water loss and could increase the risk of dehydration)
Water Requirements Are Higher For Those Engaged In High Intensity Training Or Other Activities
Since exercise and a high fiber diet is part of the Naturally Intense System of Diet & Exercise™ I recommend sometimes up to a gallon of water for some based in their bodyweight and activity levels especially since increased protein intake is also an additional requirement for more fluids. Bloating, and water retention is often a sign of inadequate water intake, as such the more you drink, the less water your body will retain. As a rule the more water you drink the less water your body will retain and I have seen some clients over the years lose as much as 10-15 lbs of water weight in the course of a week simply by regulating their sodium intake and ensuring adequate hydration levels.
When Should I Drink Water? Some Useful Tips From The Field!
Thirst tells us we need water, but the thirst mechanism cannot be relied upon to meet our water needs, since by the time you are thirsty, you are can already be slightly dehydrated. Mild dehydration occurs with as little as 1 percent loss of body weight. My suggestion is to to drink water during the day, and taper off the amount as the day goes on so that you can stop drinking at least an hour or two before bedtime. This is a good practice that prevents you having to wake up too often during the night and having your sleep patterns affected by your fluid intake
On days that you exercise, your water intake is most important. You will see a significant drop off in your performance if you do not drink an adequate amount, and it is my recommendation that you not engage in high intensity training if you have not drunk enough water during the day. My clients are often amazed at how well I can tell when they haven’t had enough water before their high intensity workouts. There is inevitably a marked reduction in their strength, endurance and they may experience muscle cramps – especially on warmer days.
Are There Any Potential Dangers To Drinking Water?
People with kidney problems or cardiovascular disease or other conditions where fluid intake needs to be limited should follow their doctor’s recommendations with correct sodium intake. Always seek advice from your doctor before beginning any new diet or changing eating and drinking habits. Can You Drink Too Much Water? In a word, yes, you can indeed drink too much water but it is a very rare occurrence among adults. Too much water ingested at one time can bring about dilution of sodium levels in the body, which creates a state called hyponatremia.
Electrolyte imbalance of this nature can cause arrythmia, confusion, nausea, seizures and it can lead to comatose states and death. The effects mimic alcohol consumption and as such it is often referred to as water intoxification. The key to remember is that this usually only occurs in infants, athletes involved in long term strenuous activities or in individuals that are somehow mentally impaired. Babies can suffer from hyponatremia by having too much water or from drinking formula that has been diluted too much, as their low weight makes it easy for them to over consume water.
Athletes that are dehydrated during marathon type events can also succumb to hyponatremia, as they drink too much water at one time in an attempt to rehydrate themselves. If they drink plain water without any electrolytes, they can very easily suffer from water intoxification. Finally, the third group at risk are those with some degree of mental impairment, be it organic or as a result of drug and alcohol use. The key to remember about hyponatremia is that it is not caused by drinking too much water, but rather from drinking an enormous amount of water all at one time, and it is very unlikely that anyone would do so under ordinary circumstances.
The media does tend to make a big story out of any deaths attributed to water intoxification, but as sensationalist as they can be, it does not take away the fact that most victims are infants, endurance athletes or people under the influence. The kidneys of a healthy human being can process 15 liters a day, (that is almost 4 gallons) without any ill effects. Keeping in mind that muscle is 72% water, and given their high protein intake, and bodyweights, it is not uncommon for bodybuilders and high performance athletes to ingest between 1 to 2 gallons of water a day. But that amount is consumed over the course of twenty four hours and not all at once, and that number can increase based on weather conditions. So as long as you are not trying to win a water drinking contest, or running a marathon, hyponatremia is not something that you should really be worried about.
The American Dietetic Association. Water: The Beverage for Life.
Convertino V.A., Amstrong L.E., Coyle E.F.,Mack G.W., Swaka M.N., Senay L.C. Jr., Sherman W.M. 1996.
American College of Sports Medicine position. “Exercise and fluid replacement.” Medical Science Sports Exercise.
Kleiner S.M. 1999. “Water: An essential but overlooked nutrient.” Journal of the American Dietetic Association.
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Kevin Richardson- celebrity Personal Trainer New York City is the creator of Naturally Intense™ High Intensity Training, a lifetime natural bodybuilder, head of Naturally Intense™ Personal Trainers NYC and one of the most sought after personal trainer in NYC.