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Water makes up 60% of our bodies and is the most important thing we consume. Everyone knows hydration is a vital part of a healthy lifestyle, but most people don’t think about how much water they need to drink during their workouts. Here’s how to stay hydrated during your workouts and get the most out of your training.
How Much Water Should I Drink Per Day?
Every human body requires a different amount of water to stay hydrated throughout the day, but these are the averages for adult men and women:
- Adult Men: 3.7 liters per day
- Adult Women: 2.7 liters per day
These numbers are the daily benchmarks that people should strive for, but two notable factors can cause them to increase: your activity level and your current health status. Healthier and more active people require more water to sustain their lifestyles. That means the average athlete’s recommended daily water intake looks like this:
- Male Athletes: 5.7 liters per day
- Female Athletes: 4.0 liters per day
If you exercise regularly and your goal is to lose weight or gain muscle, you should aim for the athlete benchmarks instead of the average joe benchmarks. Water is a crucial component of muscle recovery that can make or break your workouts.
How Much Should I Drink During My Workout?
Again, there are no precise rules for how much you should drink during exercise. Every person’s body has different fluid requirements that vary from day to day. However, the American Council of Exercise (ACE) – one of the top personal trainer councils in the world – has created loose guidelines for how much you should drink and when:
- Drink 18-20 ounces two to three hours before your workout.
- Drink 8 ounces 20 to 30 minutes before your workout.
- Drink 7-10 ounces every 10 to 20 minutes during your workout.
- Drink 8 ounces within 30 minutes of your workout’s completion.
- Drink 16-24 ounces for every pound of body weight lost during the workout.
Based on these guidelines, a one-hour workout needs at least 35 ounces or one full liter to keep the body hydrated and maintain its level of performance.
These numbers also assume that you’re drinking enough water throughout the day. If you don’t drink enough at work or school, you should aim for 50+ ounces to make up for lost fluids. However, knowing how to stay hydrated 24/7 is the most important priority. Focus on perfecting your drinking habits before worrying about your intraworkout fluid intake.
Some people consume sports drinks with electrolytes to aid with hydration and give them an energy boost, but they’re often high in calories and artificial sugars. Don’t rely too much on these drinks. Water should be your primary source of hydration every day.
The Dangers of Dehydration
To effectively monitor your hydration, you must know the signs and dangers of dehydration. Dehydration has a wide range symptoms, some of which you might not have considered:
- Sugar cravings
- Low energy
- Confusion or disorientation
- Red or flushed skin
- Swollen or cramped muscles
- Lack of sweat during exercise
- Dry mouth, lips and eyes
- Dark-yellow or strong-scented urine
If you notice multiple symptoms occurring at once, you’re likely dehydrated and need a glass of water. However, drinking too much water can also have negative effects:
- Clear, colorless urine
- Cramped muscles
- Discoloration of hands, feet and lips
Stay within the recommended guidelines discussed in the first sections and let thirst guide your drinking habits. A good sign of sufficient hydration is when you take multiple trips to the bathroom and produce consistently light-yellow urine. Keep that trend going and you’ll be a happy, hydrated camper.
Stay Hydrated and Stay on Track
If you want to stay on track towards your fitness goals, constant hydration is a crucial task that you can’t ignore. Sufficient water intake will improve your workout performance and recovery, getting you that much closer to your goals every day.