The human body is a walking bag of water that goes haywire if left empty. You might have already experienced the debilitating symptoms of dehydration after a hot summer day or the morning of a bad hangover, and the lack of access to this resource for many remains a global priority. Water is life, but how much of it do we need to thrive?
Optimal hydration goes beyond drinking eight glasses a daily. Our water demands change continuously based on factors ranging from activity levels to your diet, body mass, stress and location, amongst many others. An athlete training in Arizona will need to drink more water than an sixteen-year-old student in Montreal during the winter.
Some formulas work better than others regarding adherence and reaped benefits, but no universal rule applies to everyone. Any health professional claiming they know how much water you need without knowing more about you first can also predict next week's winning lottery numbers. Here are two hydration strategies to help you figure out how much water you need for optimal performance and body composition.
The Body Weight Formula
The renowned strength coach Charles Poliquin taught me to calculate hydration needs based on body weight, a method that worked wonders for dedicated students and athletes but overwhelmed those not used to drinking so much water every day.
For a 150lbs student (68kg): 68 x 39mL = 2652 ml = 2.65L
- Application: The best way to meet this goal is to have a water bottle with you at all times to sip it throughout the day, then refill it accordingly - Two and a half times for the example student above.
- Pros: Sets a fixed to value to follow daily, easy to track with the water bottle system, Adherence reaped increased performance at the gym, more energy and improved digestion throughout the day, better sleep at night. Some students even noted immediate but minute changes in their body composition just by meeting that goal for a few days. The body can work wonders when you give it the water it needs.
- Cons: The result is more than what people are used to drink, increases need to urinate at the first and does not always apply - some students reported the benefits by drinking more or less what the formula had given them.
The What Happens When Test
This method requires awareness and patience. Our students learn the What Happens When Test to note the impact of anything they apply on important health metrics such as energy and stress levels, digestion, mental acuity, sleep, and training performance.
- Application: Let's use the hypothetical case cited above.
The student calculates his water needs to be 2.6L/day based on his body weight. The next step is to apply this for an extended period, let's say 7 days in this case, and answer the following question:
What happens to my health metrics when I drink 2.6L of water daily for a week?
- Pros: The outcome allows the student to adjust water intake based on various parameters and find the optimal dose. Perhaps drinking 2.6L is not enough to improve energy levels, digestion, and sleep significantly. The test must be repeated with 3L/day.
- Cons: The process is long, hard to track without the right tools, and requires constant attention.
You can use the Creavinci Hero System to help track and understand these important metrics. The program is still in its BETA stage, however, so your feedback is appreciated to help us improve it.
The timing of hydration will be discussed in my next post, but I invite you to answer the following questions:
What happens to my health metrics when I drink 1L of water every day for a week?
What happens to my health metrics when I drink 2L of water every day for a week?
What happens to my health metrics when I drink 3L of water every day for a week?
What happens to my health metrics when I drink 4L of water every day for a week?
What happens to my health metrics when I drink 5L of water every day for a week?
You never know what you can find out about yourself until you go out and experiment!
Feedback Nutrition is an online course that Integrates cutting-edge technology and body awareness coaching to monitor the impact of food on important health metrics in order to tailor efficient and sustainable eating habits.