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Water, Sports & Bodybuilding on Steroids

How much water should an athlete drink?

  How Much Water? One of the favorite questions by all athletes is how much water should one drink? While some individuals want to know about vitamins, minerals or foods - everyone wants to know about water. There are literally hundreds of books written on water intake. There are formulas, equations and ratios. Many websites go into great depth about intake, output, weight, metabolism and calories. Some websites ask you buy calculators and have software programs so you can calculate the water needed. Really, has every one gone mad or what?  

So how much water can one drink - there is no one answer to this easy question. If you speak to 10 different health care workers, you will get most likely get 100 different answers with a lot of scientific jargon; but this gets more complex. If you were to speak to non-health care professionals, out of 10 answers you will get 1,000 rambling answers on water with no scientific jargon but a lot of anecdotal stories.

Why all the fuss with water? We all have so many other problems. This most innocuous of liquids is creating havoc in many people lives- especially athletes.

There are some who say drink 6 glasses of water; others say 8 glasses of water in a day. How this number was derived and when it was derived is a mystery. There is no one number for all individuals when it comes to water.

Water intake depends on where you live, what you do, how active you are and your health status. Surely someone who lives in the dry Sahara desert will not be satisfied with 6 glasses of water/day and likewise, someone living in the arctic will not drink 6 glasses of water (beer may be). So to begin with, there is no formula for water intake. Read on for more exciting stuff on aqua.

No one doubts that water is vital for survival. Our body is made up of 70% water. Almost every organ in the body needs water for function. Water hydrates the organs, delivers nutrients and also flushes out toxin or end products. Make no mistake, survival without water is impossible.

When one does not drink water for a few days, dehydration is a common feature. With dehydration, one can feel tired, have no energy and there is no strength.

The great thing about our body is that it can regulate fluids with excellent precision. When we take in water, we also lose water. Loss of water occurs through breathing, sweating, via urination and in our bowel movements. For the body to function and have energy, one must drink water or eat foods which contain water.

How much water?
The majority of healthy adults make about 6 cups of urine a day (1.0 -1.5 liters). About 1 liter is lost from sweating, breathing and pooping. Depending on what you eat; one usually gets about 20 percent of water from food- so with this formulae one only needs to drink about 6-8 cups of water/day. Athlete Drinking Water

There are others who recommend a 8 x 8 rule. Drink eight-8 ounces glasses of water a day which is about 1.8-1.9 liters. This 8 x 8 rule is all over cyberspace. Nutritionist, body builders, fitness experts, dieticians and many others seem to think they have the magic formula. There is no scientific evidence to indicate how this came about, but probably someone smart came up with the idea. But there is a lot more to drinking water.

All these formulas and equations can be even more difficult to understand because almost everyone consumes coffee, juices, milk, beer and many other beverages. The number of these fluids consumed varies in both genders. Men appear to drink more beverages than females. Men typically drinks anywhere from 2-3 liters and women drink slightly less.

While all this is well and good, there are other factors that can affect water intake.

Bodybuilding & Sweating Exercise: Anyone who exercises or even walks needs to drink more because one sweats. Most athletes need at least a liter or more of water every few hours and this may be more during intense activity. The amount of fluid needed by an athlete is entirely dependent on the degree of sweating. If the athlete is healthy and exercising, there is no magical formula to say how much one can drink. You can drink until your thirst is quenched. One does not need to read a book or go to see a nutritionist, dietician or a psychotherapist to know this.

Individuals who participate in endurance training need to drink juices that contain potassium and sodium. Sodium is frequently lost in the sweat and can occasionally lead to over heating. So drink more fluids with sodium

External environment: It is well known that hot and humid weather makes you sweat a lot more- so you drink more. If the indoors are heated during the winter time or if the AC is on during the summer, you lose more moisture. Individuals who climb mountains or live at high altitudes generally have to work more, breathe faster and need more fluids to keep up.

Medical disorders: One of the first cardinal rules in all of medicine is give the patient fluids. Individuals who have a fever, vomiting or diarrhea tend to lose water. So besides drinking water, many hospitalized patients are given fluid via an intravenous. There have been countless lawsuits against hospitals and physicians who have failed to provide fluids to sick individuals. While water is a great fluid during an illness one should also try and replace the lost elements like potassium, calcium and sodium. Gatorade and PowerAde and two great drinks. Females who have urinary tract infections are always told to drink water to help flush out the bacteria. On the other hand, there are some hospitalized patients where caution should be exercised when it comes to drinking too much water. Individuals with heart failure usually are not able to get rid of their body water and thus water intake should be limited. Individuals who have kidney or liver failure are unable to rid the body of water. Again, these individuals need to take in less water.

Pregnancy: Many pregnant athletes exercise or breast feed. They need water to remain hydrate. Fluids are vital when one is breast feeding. It is highly recommended that women who breast feed, drink more than 2-3 liters of fluids a day.

Where should the water come from?

The whole world has gone crazy. Everyone seems to think that only bottled water is good. There have been a lot of bottled water companies who have been simply filling the bottles with tap water and selling it to the public. Tap water is fine as long as it is clean. Forget the nonsense about heavy metals and junk in water (water filters is another big scam). Simply boil the water to ensure that all organisms are dead and then drink to your heart’s content. Drinking Water>

One can even eat fruits and vegetables which can provide up to 20 percent of the body’s daily water intake. Besides water, one can drink tea, coffee, juices, wine and even beer. There is no law or rule that says one can’t hydrate oneself with beer. Beer is a great thirst quencher. Of course, you can get drunk and so it is best consumed privately and not at a gym or a sports arena.

For all consumers in North America, tap water is still the best water to drink. It is generally safe, contains zero calories and readily available (unless you have not have paid your water bill).

So how much water should one drink?

Well, God made humans in such a way that your body will tell you if you are thirsty or if you become dehydrated- you will sense the need to drink water. However, there are certain exceptions - the elderly and small children need to be given fluids as their ability to sense dehydration is not fully functional.

For a healthy human, one can drink as much water as one wants. There is no limit. As long as one is healthy the more you drink, the more you will simply pee it out. It is impossible for a healthy adult to drown in drinking water.

Rehydrating The only caveat to all this is if you are constantly exercising- then you should drink fluids which contain sodium, potassium and calcium. Drinking water alone in such cases can lead to a condition called hyponatremia.

But is there a way to tell if one is dehydrated?

Sure, just look at your urine. If the urine is dark yellow and smells like crap and is concentrated, you need to drink fluids. If your urine is faint yellow, clear and looks fresh, you are okay

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