Step 4: Water

Big surprise, right? 

You had to know water was going to make it onto the list somehow! 

Most people have fallen into the trend trap of hearing things like, “drink 2 liters of water per day,” or “most people are chronically dehydrated.” Both are only kinda sorta true. In reality, if we were all chronically dehydrated we’d all be a lot weaker and sicker than we already are. 

That’s not to say water isn’t important, of course. It is, and it’s especially important to get enough fluids when you’re exercising a lot or when the weather is especially hot. 

Up here in Canada, believe it or not, it’s often drier in the winter. That’s because the constant running of the central heating tends to keep the humidity in our houses at a lot lower level than in the summer. 

The truth is, our bodies are composed of a significant quantity of water. Most of it has to be combined with minerals in order for our cells to function properly (think of your neurons as being electrical circuits, and the water as being the saline in a saltwater battery). It’s essential for carrying nutrients around our bodies, and for flushing out waste products. 

This feature means water is also an important part of our metabolism. We need to be hydrated enough to use, metabolize, and excrete the products involved in all of our metabolic processes. 

But -- and this is super important -- you also don’t want to have too much water. Too much water can cause you to lose minerals. It can also cause you to oversaturate your cells, which dilutes the saline solution your electrical system runs on, which can cause dizziness, confusion, weakness, and even death. 

Yes, death from water. So don’t overdo it. 

We also get water from food and other drinks, so don’t get paranoid about not having enough. You’re probably getting just enough. 

You’ll find plenty of information on the internet about how much water you should have in a day. I know some elite bodybuilders (we’re talking major competition class here) who will drink an entire gallon in one workout. That sounds huge, but remember these guys are elite, and a workout can last 2-3 hours of high-intensity lifting. 

That’s not you. 

Most people (we’re talking 90% or more) never workout hard enough to warrant that much water consumption (and definitely not enough for a sports drink). But it is a good idea to aim for a litre during a good one-hour workout (that’s about 32 oz, not counting any amino or other workout drinks). 

How much should you have in a day? Well, there are plenty of different calculations. My personal favourite is to take your body weight (in lbs) and divide it by 2. That’s how many ounces you should be aiming for in a day. 

For example: 200 lbs. ÷ 2 = 100 oz of water per day. 

Not super difficult. 

To factor in how much you should drink as someone who exercises, take the amount above, and add to it 12 oz for every 30 minutes of exercise. So, if you’re planning on exercising for 30 minutes (use this for anything 30 minutes and under), you’ll need 112 oz. For an hour, make it 124 oz. And if it’s insanely hot outside, obviously increase the amount. 

The best way to kickstart this process is in the morning. It’ll take a few days to get used to it, but it’s worth it. Remember, if you’re sleeping through the night that’ll be eight full hours with nothing to drink. Your body wants it! 

First thing in the morning (maybe after you pee...I’m not a monster), drink down 500ml (about 16 oz) of water. That’s it. It doesn’t have to be cold. It doesn’t have to be filtered. It doesn’t have to be bottled or come from a spring somewhere in Greenland. Just drink it. 

It’s hard to get used to if you’ve never done it before, but stick with it for a few days. This one trick alone will not only help you strip off lbs., but will also make you feel incredible. You’ll be more energized and more alert, and (bonus) probably won’t feel as hungry.

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