A Mid-Month Hydration Check-In with PhD, RD Chris Mohr

If you’re an athlete or just a regular desk jockey, hydration affects everything from endurance to brainpower to sexual performance (yes, really!). Makes sense because our cells soak in water, which makes up over half of who we are and up to 75% of muscle and brain tissue. And that is exactly why I focus so heavily on proper hydration for me and why I wanted to jump on the February Pursuit – Hydration.

I’m admittedly pretty good at hydrating; that said, I’m always up for a good challenge and this month was no different.  


Quick reminder, here’s the specific challenge:

Drink 1 liter of water daily before consuming anything else 

OR

Drink ½ your body weight in oz of water each day


Here’s how it’s going.

I decided to take on both of the options – both the 1 liter of water before consuming anything else AND drinking ½ my body weight in oz of water each day.

Before this, my routine was to drink 2 cups of water before coffee.  I upped that to filling up my Rhone water bottle, which holds 28 oz (a little more than 3 cups) and now drinking that. To help with that, I fill up the bottle the night before and leave it on the counter to sip on while the coffee is brewing. 

Whenever working towards any goal, it’s most important to set yourself up for success.  In this case, having the bottle already filled up and ready to drink is one way for me to do this. As an aside, we also have the coffee set the night before as well.  Having all systems in place makes everything easier and when it’s first thing in the morning, the less brain power that has to go towards this, the better.

After that 1 L of water in the morning, I enjoy and savor two cups of coffee which, as an aside, also count towards my daily hydration. 

It’s important to note that every single liquid consumed – outside of alcohol – counts towards your total hydration, including coffee (since it’s 99% water).


The next part of the challenge was to drink ½ your body weight in ounces.  

Now, admittedly, I easily did this with total liquid before the Pursuit Challenge, but likely not always water specifically so I decided to add just water to my total liquid intake to achieve this.  For me, at about 200 lbs, that means 100 oz of water (or 12.5 cups) or 4ish of the Rhone reusable water bottles daily.

Clearly it was more than I was used to, as I was certainly making more trips to the bathroom at the start, so I added a bonus here and used the bathroom in our basement, even though our office on the 2nd floor of our house. 

With this switch, my fitness tracker had me averaging about 20 flights of steps daily, whereas my normal is 10-12.  BONUS!

One quick learning that I had: I noticed I had to get going pretty quickly with this habit and get through my four bottles towards the beginning of the day, otherwise I found myself up in the middle of the night more often than I prefer (which is not at all).  

Now I just make sure I hit my goal much earlier to make sure that my sleep isn’t interrupted with midnight bathroom breaks.  

The Hydration Pursuit is certainly something I plan to stick with; having the reusable water bottle that’s a reasonable size, helps me stick to the plan.  It’s easy: drink 4 of these daily and the rest, like the kombucha I’m sipping on while writing this, is bonus.


Why Hydration Matters

I covered hydration in an earlier piece. Here’s a quick Cliff Notes version.

For any guy wanting to squeeze the most out of his body during a workout, being well hydrated and staying that way throughout the workout will go a long way in helping maintain stamina and mental focus. In fact, it’s one of the most important things you can do to maximize performance.

From a health and performance perspective, it’s always better to be well hydrated than even slightly dehydrated, especially on occasions when we want to get the most from our bodies, in the gym or the office because even just a little dehydration can affect performance, mental capacity and ultimately health as shown in the table below.

% Body Water Loss

Consequences

0.5%

Impaired thermoregulation & increased strain on the heart

1%-2%

Reduced exercise endurance

4-5%

Heat cramps, reduce motor skills, decrease capacity for work by ~30%, reduced mental capacity

6%

Physical exhaustion, heatstroke

*NOTE: 0.5% of body water loss is less than a 1 lb loss for a guy weighing 175 lbs.

 

 

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