Every day that I learn something new is a good day for me. Lately, that’s been almost every day!
As a new health coach and student of Precision Nutrition, I read at least 8-10 lessons each week related to coaching, fitness and nutrition. Plus all of the other articles, posts, tweets, etc. that flow through my feeds.
I’ve learned to trust the evidence and science-based research over the hype that thousands of fitness experts throw out there. It can be very confusing. Even for coaches at times.
Right now my lessons focus on zero-calorie beverages.
I drink my two cups of coffee in the morning with very light creamer and no sugar. The rest of the day is water with my occasional adult beverage thrown in there.
I’ve practiced this habit for along time and do it consistently. I’ve had at least 80 ounces of water every day for the last couple of years.
I’m not even sure I remember why I selected 80 ounces as my target!
Some days I get that no problem. Other days I struggle.
This is where my learning comes in.
You will find a ton of information out there about how much water you should drink to stay hydrated.
- Drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water every day.
- Drink your half your body weight in water every day.
- If you wait until you’re thirsty, it’s too late. (one of my favorites!)
The answer is much simpler than that: drink when you are thirsty. Our bodies are smart and can tell us when we need water.
This makes sense and aligns with the other lessons we’ve been learning. Eat when you are hungry.
So why wouldn’t you drink when you are thirsty?
We are all different and have different needs. We’ve talked about this before too.
Experiment with this and tailor your water intake to meet your needs at that time.
Smaller people need less water than larger people.
Those who are performing strenuous work or exercise in the heat may need more water than those lounging on the couch.
I like taking the complexity out of these habits and helping to simplify it for action.
Our bodies are smart and sometimes we forget that fact.
Thirst is controlled in our brains and works to find the balance of water/fluids and electrolytes (sodium & potassium).
Can we over-hydrate our bodies? Yes, but that is much more likely for elite athletes performing at extremely high levels and drinking too much water too fast.
Over-hydration occurs when we take in too much plain water without enough sodium to keep the balance that is needed in our bodies.
Drink slowly when you’re thirsty and spread the water intake over the entire day.
Avoid the hoopla – keep it simple and adjust as your activity adjusts.
If you have thirst or salt cravings, please discuss with your doctor. They can help ensure there isn’t another underlying problem.
So the learning for me, I do alter my water intake based on my activity. On days where I workout or run, I drink more. On less active days I drink less.
Going forward, I don’t plan to focus so much on the 80 ounces. I will listen to my brain and my body and drink when I’m thirsty.
Want help working these lessons into your daily routine? Please reach out…we’d love to help!