It's no secret that hydration is important. After all, we're like mostly water.
But what we're really after is balance. Proper hydration is really the appropriate balance of water in and water out - retention and excretion.
From a performance standpoint, even mild dehydration can make a big impact and not in a good way. Adequate hydration is truly a key to looking, feeling, and performing at your best.
So, how much should we be drinking and how do we go about doing this?
The question, how much, is a good one but one that doesn't have a definitive answer. Some days you'll need a bit more and some days you'll need a bit less.
A good starting point is half of your body weight in ounces. I weigh about 180 lbs so 90 ounces a day is a good place to start. Have this be your initial goal. Get to that mark and then adjust from there.
How do we bring this to life?
First and foremost, start your day with the biggest glass of water you can stomach. I recommend adding a pinch of sea salt and if you so choose, a little lemon. Warm water is best but there's no shame in the cold water game. Do this as close to waking up as possible. If you do nothing other than this right here, you'll be in good shape.
Second, get a cool new water bottle and get the biggest one that you can. Sometimes the act of refilling is enough resistance to not do it. That'll make sure you almost always have water at the ready. I may not be able to get into Planet Fitness with my gallon jug (yes, I carry one around with me), but you had better believe I’m the most hydrated person in the build!
Third, focus on calorie-free beverages. Yes, technically any drink is going to be mostly water but the presence of anything outside of good ole H2O is going to impact your body's ability to use it. I’m not telling you that you can’t drink your coffee how you like it. Just don’t count this toward your hydration goals.
The goal is to make it easy to have water readily available. You also may need to set some reminders for yourself to remind you to take a drink of water, especially if you’re not used to drinking more than a couple cups a day. Like anything else, it takes practice to get in the habit of drinking more water.
One note for performance rehydration. When you sweat, along with body water you also lose electrolytes like sodium and potassium. During intense exercise, be sure to include an electrolyte source in whatever you’re drinking. Just like dehydration can be problematic, too much water without enough electrolytes can be too. This doesn’t necessarily mean you need sugar sweetened sports drinks. A pinch of salt should do the trick.