Health & Fitness / hydration
Adequate hydration is one of the simplest, yet overlooked practices across your grueling workout and the hours that follow in recovery. Sure your intake of creatine, BCAA’s and protein are consumed like clockwork, but if you’re not staying properly hydrated, all of your hard work (and money) might as well go out the door. It’s all about maximizing that small window of time at the gym, in order to smash your boldest fitness goals. Here I explore the levels of hydration contained in some of the most widely consumed beverages on the planet.
The Beverage hydration index (BHI)
The BHI is a fairly new creation, one that was formed in order to ascertain the hydration levels of popular beverages. The calculations are based on test guinea pigs (ie humans) drinking 1L of water, then having their net urine output measured at 2 hours, and repeated again for each consecutive beverage listed on the chart.
Coca cola is more hydrating than water
Yes, you read that correctly. However, just like easily reaching your protein needs by way of juicy steak, many vegetarians will be quick to argue what’s coming along for the ride with that protein. Think heated debates about saturated fat and consequential heart disease.
It’s kind of the same when it comes to how you go about quenching your thirst, with the most hydrating beverages not necessarily being the healthiest. The energy density contained within a drink and electrolytes present, are two factors that seem to lift the BHI reading, however on the topic of Coca Cola and other sugary drinks:
On a larger scale, 40,000 men and their drinking habits were tracked over the span of two decades. Those who averaged just 1 can of sugary beverage per day, had a 20% higher risk of a heart attack than those who rarely indulged in them.
A study over a whopping 22-year period, followed 80,000 women who consumed a can a day, which left them 75% more susceptible to gout, than women who rarely consumed sugary beverages.
Unfortunately, sugar-sweetened fruit juice doesn’t stack up much better, with a significantly higher risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes. So even though orange juice is more hydrating than water, and a great source of vitamin C, it should still be consumed in moderation, always opting for 100% pure content.
Is coffee bad for hydration?
While coffee does rate as the least hydrating of all the beverages featured on the BHI, you might be curious, does it actually have a dehydrating effect?
Notably, caffeine doesn’t have any detrimental effect to fluid balance. You’ve probably heard plenty of rumours that suggest otherwise, but they’re nothing but a myth! Coffee is regularly used as a performance-enhancer by many endurance athletes, and can also be used in combination with your workout routine to burn fat.
Why water should still be your primary source of hydration
Statistically speaking, you might be surprised that Coca Cola, milk and orange juice are all more hydrating than plain water. But would you really change your predominant source of fluids to any one of these options? The answer is I certainly hope not. I believe the healthiest option is undoubtedly water:
Your body is naturally comprised of around 60% water, so it makes sense to support and match nature with the intake of pure water, rather than a synthetic beverage with additives, sweeteners or preservatives.
You can drink water in abundance without a rising intake of sugar (synthetic or otherwise), calories, hormones or other unknown ingredients. You also won’t need to include yourself in the statistics for Type 2 Diabetes, heart attacks or gout!
In most developed regions around the world, water is cost-free and readily available.
I personally gulp down a heap of water during my workout. I wouldn’t be willing to trade that equivalent level in milk, orange juice or refreshing Coca Cola.
Water flushes toxins from your system, allowing the body to function optimally, banishing fatigue and boosting productivity, giving you that extra leverage to focus on a great workout and quicker recovery.
I think you’ll agree that feeling dehydrated sucks, especially when you know that so many systems within the body rely on adequate hydration. Choosing the right beverage to rehydrate with is so important for your overall health and fitness goals, especially when habits build over a long period of time- like that daily can of Cola! Make it your focus this week to up the ante on your H2O intakes.
Written by Shannon Davidson
Staying properly hydrated throughout the day is something you need to consistently pay attention to. That’s because your quality of life depends on it. Adequate hydration is not something you just half do, if you’re seeking optimal health. While the health benefits of hydration are almost limitless, here’s a few of the best reasons to drink up!
Sure, you may not be looking to replicate Ronnie Coleman’s guns, but if you’re wishing to add definition to your Spongebob legs, you need to know about the very important link between muscle growth and hydration.
Water helps to transport nutrients to your muscles, which can be made up of a whopping 75% water. With protein being the building blocks of life, and amino acids the essential nutrients for growth, it helps to understand the importance of replacing fluids lost throughout your workout. There are so many essential vitamins needed for muscle repair and recovery such as vitamin C, D and E, that also need to be driven to select muscle groups.
Without water, you lose overall strength, and in turn gains through weight lifting. In fact, losing as little as 1-2% of your body weight in water is enough to suffer negatively.
Hydration shouldn’t just start when you walk through that gym door. Rather, make sure your water intake is consistent throughout your day, in order to increase focus, improve performance and avoid early fatigue throughout your workout. If you’ve ever struggled to break through a plateau, you might just find that you’ve overlooked your hydration needs, a mistake more common than you might know!
Healthy heart function
Staying adequately hydrated, especially around heavy exercise, allows your heart to function at peak performance, as it freely pumps blood around the body without added strain.
When you become dehydrated, the amount of blood that circulates around your body slows, yet your heart has to work a lot harder to maintain blood pressure. Plasma, which is the liquid portion of blood is made up of 92% water!
Ever heard of that incredibly fit athlete in his mid 30’s, who suddenly collapsed from a sudden heart attack on the field? A 2016 study found that even minor dehydration can lead to arterial hardening and cardiovascular disease. Moral of the story; make a point to stay ultra-hydrated if you lead an active life!
No amount of anti-ageing cream will work, if you don’t moisturize your skin from the inside out. Passing by a stranger in the street that exhibits radiant skin, speaks volumes as to how much they invest in their overall health.
Hydration is one of the number one steps that simply can’t be overlooked for a youthful glow, as water is one of the best nutrients to help flush toxins from pores. And you don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars in the process!
Leading studies show that water helps to lubricate the upper layers of skin, improves overall structure and dramatically improves elasticity. If your goals are to clear up acne, dry or flaky skin and even skin tightness, then look no further than that tall glass of water!
As you can see, water is absolutely vital for so many important functions throughout the body. Staying properly hydrated throughout the day is essential for kicking gym goals, supporting a healthy heart, glowing skin and overall optimal health. There’s no doubt about it, water is nature’s most important nutrient in life.
By: Shannon Davidson
This is one of the most common questions I hear: “I have been trying to slim down/lose weight during the past couple of months. I eat healthy and workout, but I’m still not seeing results. What can I do?”
I know that each person is different in terms of how their body responds, how they view ‘eating healthy’, etc. BUT I have found that there are 3 MAIN things that can make a big difference for someone who maintains a healthy lifestyle, but isn’t seeing results they want. I usually ask the person these 3 questions right off the bat, and 1 or 2 of them pinpoints the area they can clean up to start succeeding in their fitness endeavors:
1) How much water do you drink a day?
If you are working out, you should be drinking AT LEAST a gallon a day= 3.75 Liters approx. or 128oz.
Why so much water??
Your muscles are made up of 80% water.*If they are not hydrated, your workouts are not at your full potential meaning you are not burning as much fat or building as much muscle as you can during your time at the gym.
Water will increase your satiety (making you feel less hungry).
Water can increase your metabolism and burn extra calories: Drinking 1/2 Liter of water will increase your metabolism 24-30% for 90minutes **; & Drinking 2 liters of water will cause you to burn 96 calories throughout the day. So drinking a gallon of water will mean you burn about 200kcals a day more!
When you don’t drink water, your kidneys slow down & the liver will help them out. One of the Liver’s jobs is to convert your body fat into usable energy… however, if your liver is doing the kidneys’ job, it stops breaking down your fat, and your body will store the fat instead. So, by keeping your kidneys hydrated, you are also allowing the liver to break down more fat.^
What about water poisoning?
Yes, it is possible to OD on water. However, your kidneys are able to process .26 gallons of water per hour (approx 1 Liter) so as long as you’re not downing the entire gallon in an hour, you should be ok :)If you are really concerned, you can check out this site for some more information: “Too Much Water Can Kill”
2) How many servings of vegetables do you eat a day?
Aim for 7-10 servings a day.Like water this will help you feel full and eliminate hunger for unhealthy foods. Additionally, the nutrients in vegetables will fuel your body’s cells to help them perform optimally which will increase your metabolism and energy level as well. So you burn more calories through the day, and have more energy for daily life and workouts
1 serving of vegetables = 1 cup fresh or 1/2 cup steamed.
If you have problems eating this much vegetables:
Use Spinach. You can steam about 10 cups of fresh spinach into 1 cup for a salad, or you can blend your spinach into a protein shake – the shake will be a green color, but you won’t even notice the flavor.
Find ways to substitute vegetables in for a snack— like carrots and hummus, or celery and almond butter.
And, you can add vegetables into mealsyou currently eat — like adding in vegetables to you breakfast omelet, or adding some extra into a chicken stir fry or burrito.