Figuring out how much water to drink per day can be a hassle and for no good reason.
There is so much conflicting information surrounding the topic of water intake.
I get asked this question all the time.
“How much water should I be drinking?”
Knowing how much water to drink per day is important but it’s not as complicated as everyone makes it out to be.
All the ‘conventional’ advice out there says things like:
“Drink a half ounce of water per pound of body weight a day.”
This doesn’t help you at all.
In fact, it might be hurting you.
I’ll tell you how.
First, you need to know a little bit about electrolytes and their function.
Electrolytes is a fancy word for essential minerals.
Examples of electrolytes are sodium, calcium, potassium and magnesium.
On a side note, it’s estimated that up to 50% of Americans are magnesium deficient.
I talk about how to solve this in my post 5 Ways To Improve Brain Function.
Back to electrolytes.
“Okay, so I know what electrolytes are now, but why are they important?”
Your body uses electrolytes for many important functions:
- Muscle Contraction
- Nerve Function
- Blood Pressure
So clearly, they play a substantial biological role.
So where does the problem come in?
A problem comes along when you drink too much water.
This is can be done excessively or moderately of course.
So how much water is too much water?
When done excessively, over-hydration can actually lead to something called water intoxication.
Essentially, the electrolytes in your body become extremely diluted causing hyponatremia.
Hyponatremia is a condition where you sodium (salt) levels become dangerously low.
This has actually killed people like in this article.
Okay, so obviously we don’t want to die.
But how do I figure out how much water to drink per day?
Here’s the simple answer:
Just drink when you are thirsty.
If you’re drinking when you’re not thirsty, chances are, you’re drinking too much water.
You’re dispersing and spreading electrolytes thin throughout the body.
Subpar concentrations of electrolytes can hinder your performance.
Low / suboptimal levels of electrolytes can lead to things like:
- Muscle Weakness
- Muscle Cramps
- Numbness / Tingling
Different electrolyte imbalances will manifest different symptoms.
For instance, low magnesium can cause headaches.
Whereas, low potassium can cause heart palpitations.
Our bodies are smart.
Your body will tell you if you’re thirsty and it will regulate itself for the most part.
When you act against it and drink water because of some conventional advice you heard online, you’re hindering your performance.
Everyones water requirement will vary slightly from person to person.
Let’s talk about a few factors that influence water intake.
One interesting factor I’ve noticed that influences water intake is diet.
I notice that my water intake is lower when I was eating the Steak & Eggs Diet.
Typically, I try to eat my foods as rare or raw as possible.
There’s a good reason for it if you want to read about Why I Drink Pasture Raised Eggs Raw.
Anyway, when you eat slightly cooked or raw food, you are getting more water from the food.
When you cook food, the water leeches out. (Along with all your water soluble vitamins and electrolytes)
Thus, making your water requirement less demanding.
On that particular diet, I would drink around 8-16oz of water per day.
Another reason you water requirement is lesser on a diet like that is because of the lack of carbohydrates.
Carbohydrates that don’t get burned right away need to be stored.
There are two methods of storage: Fat & Glycogen.
When your body has a surplus of energy, it requires water to store the carbohydrates as glycogen in muscle tissue.
Thus, increasing your water requirement.
The cool thing about the steak & eggs diet is that I wasn’t thirsty, nor did I manifest any electrolyte deficiency symptoms.
In fact, I felt great.
I felt a lot sharper, less ‘inflamed’, had more energy and got shredded.
Of course, if you exercise more, you’re bound to need more water, right?
Let’s talk about kidneys.
Our kidneys are what maintain electrolyte and water balance.
The kidneys will filter water and electrolytes from your blood.
They will return fluid to your blood or excrete fluid via urine.
So, the kidneys maintain a BALANCE of electrolytes and water.
For optimal hydration, you need a balance of both.
And what do people do at the gym?
They drink water with no electrolytes.
This just ends up diluting the electrolytes in your body causing more of an imbalance.
Proper hydration requires both water and electrolytes.
So how do you solve this issue?
It’s very simple.
The answer is Mortons Lite Salt.
This salt has two components to it:
Sodium and potassium.
Each 1/4 TSP contains 290mg of sodium and 350mg of potassium.
What you’re going to do is mix a 1/4 TSP with your bottle of water at the gym and drink that.
Personally, I notice an ENORMOUS increase in endurance when I drink this. (Likely from the potassium)
My workouts will go from 45 minutes to around 90 minutes.
It’s actually crazy how well this simple drink works.
Try it out and let me know what you think!
It goes without saying, health will definitely effect your water intake as well.
There are a multiple conditions that can influence water intake:
- Kidney Failure
- Protein Deficiency
This especially applies to diabetics or pre-diabetics.
This is because in diabetics, blood sugars are higher than normal.
The body tries to dilute the concentration of the sugar in the blood by increasing its water intake.
With kidney failure, the kidneys fail to excrete waste (urine) and your body begins to swell from water retention.
The term they use for this swelling is called edema.
With severe protein deficiency, lower oncotic pressure results in fluid accumulation and swelling.
So, we went over quite a bit.
A little bit of diet, a little bit of exercise and some health conditions.
Chances are, you’re healthy and just need to tweak a few things to get to optimal performance.
Just drink water when you are thirsty!
Remember that proper hydration is all about water and electrolyte balance.
You can’t have one without the other.
Until Next Time,