Around 70% of a person’s body weight is made up of water and while we all know that we need to drink water to keep alive, too many people fail to fully understand the health benefits of drinking water and fall short of consuming the recommended daily intake. It’s even more important for sporty types, who should ensure that they have the correct water intake before during and after the activity, but what are a bodybuilder’s specific needs?
Bodybuilders don’t just lift weights
Bodybuilders don’t spend all of their lives in a gym, lifting a variety of weights. A day’s training might involve a three-mile run followed by an hour of weightlifting and then 10 minutes of vigorous stretching. They’ll carry water with them throughout each of these exercises, but it’s when they start to cool down that they will need to consume enough water to replace all that was lost during the session.
Apart from oxygen, water is the second most important requirement to keep your body functioning. Most of the cells within your body are not in contact with the outside air and so need water to bring oxygen to every part of the body to provide internal stability (which is known by its proper name of physiological homeostasis).
The proteins that act as essential molecules within you provide enzymatic activity. Proteins function correctly when they are folded up into a particular three-dimensional shape, with each molecule folding correctly because it has water surrounding it. Cells have to consistently work hard to maintain their current volume which is why water passes in and out of each cell to correct the volume level. If a cell fails to receive sufficient water because people don’t drink enough, it will die.
Water and your bloodstream
Water is the main component of plasma, which helps the movement of nutrients around your body, primarily in your blood stream. This serves a number of functions including the maintenance of a good body temperature, but it also moistens the air which helps you breathe and necessarily hydrates your mucous membranes. This movement of water around your body is so vital that your kidneys and lower GI tract spend almost all of their time making sure that excess water isn’t lost.
Dehydration, which is often felt by a lack of energy or a very dry mouth, happens when you’ve lost more body fluid than you have taken it. Those cells around your body are trying to function without sufficient water.
When bodybuilders begin to dehydrate, their athletic capabilities will reduce rapidly as their bodies work extra hard to move the water inside around their system.
Luckily, your body has a number of warning signals to help you understand when you need more water, even though too many people ignore the early warnings. When your brain tells you that you need more water your mouth will go dry and your nasal passages may also go dry. In desperate situations, you will feel weak, dizzy, confused, and be unable to sweat properly; you may suffer from heat exhaustion or heatstroke because your body cannot maintain its correct body temperature. If you ignored this situation for long enough it would result in your death.
As soon as your tongue feels water entering your body, it immediately sends a signal to your brain, mostly of good news, which is why the first sip of water always feels so good.
Physical activity like bodybuilding can only work properly when it is matched to the correct consumption of water before, during and after a workout. Do not underestimate the amount of water that you could lose during a session – up to 2 litres of sweat!
Damien Higgins writes for Eden Springs, whose Eden office coolers can help you avoid dehydration.