Drink Up!

Drink Up!

CONFESSION: I don’t like drinking water.

I know, I know… it doesn’t make sense. Water is the essence of life. It is the foundation to good health. It has miraculous healing powers and can rid the body of disease. It’s an elixir.

So what is there not to like?

Well, let me start and end with this one important fact: water DOES NOT taste like Coke Zero.

Once upon a time I drank anything BUT water. Sure, I’d drink a liter of water while at the gym because I couldn’t, in good conscience, chug diet soda while on the stair master. But beyond that, I’d avoid it at all costs. It was bland, it made me feel bloated, and it provided me with no feelings of satisfaction.

So how did I evolve into someone to drinks between two and three liters of water a day? In order to answer that question, let’s rewind back to January of 2012.

It was the start of the New Year and I had just “resolved” to take up road cycling as a new hobby. To make it official I had decided that I was going to conquer the Becel 75km ride, but since it was winter, I figured the best place to start was on a spin bike. I began taking spin classes at the Toronto Athletic Club, and class after class, I felt stronger, fitter, and better than I had in a long time! It was an amazing. I literally felt unstoppable!

But then things changed.

I started to suffer from light headaches, fatigue, muscle cramps, and exaggerated soreness despite getting great sleep and eating an incredibly nutritious diet. I knew I wasn’t overtraining or pushing myself beyond my threshold, and yet I was starting to feel like death! So in my desperate attempt to figure out the problem, I started to experiment with my carbohydrates and pre / post workout meals. But nothing changed. Until… I put two and two together.

I was dehydrated.

How did I know? Google told me. (Well to be fair, Sumit told me first, but I didn’t believe him, so I went to Google instead.)

Here’s what I was experiencing:

  1. Dry / sticky mouth
  2. Fatigue
  3. Headaches and dizziness
  4. Dry skin

So I revised my New Year’s Resolution list to include yet another resolution: “Drink at least two liters of water a day”. The first few weeks were painful (what with the chronic peeing and all), but once that passed, I began to feel alive again!

Moral of the story: proper hydration is CRITICAL to success.

So in my case to get YOU to drink more water, let me start with some fun facts…

We all know that roughly 70% of the body is made up of water. But did you know that…

  1. Bone consists of 22% water
  2. Muscle consists of 75% water
  3. Blood consists of 83% water
  4. Brain consists of 85% water

It’s no wonder that water plays such a huge part in our health and well-being! Now beyond water being the “fountain of youth”, here is why I personally drink at least two liters of water a day:

  • Water is essential for proper digestion and nutrient absorption. As I continue to refine my diet, I also continue to emphasize my water intake in order to maximize my body’s ability to transport and absorb nutrients.What’s the point of eating nutrient-dense food if your body can’t reap the benefits?
  •  Our metabolisms require an adequate supply of water in order to function efficiently. Dehydration slows down the metabolism and therefore inhibits the calorie / fat burning process. Lifting weights till you’re blue in the face won’t do you any good if you’re not drinking enough water!
  • The metabolic process creates toxins, and water plays a critical role in flushing them out of your body. What else do I need to say about that? They’re toxins – Flush em out!!!
  • Fiber is a vital piece of a healthy diet, but we often forget that fiber requires adequate fluid to pass through your system. I know I’m not alone when I say: everyone is happier with regular bowel movements.
  • Most people aren’t all that good at reading their body’s signals. In fact, most people (including myself) often confuse thirst with hunger. What does this mean? It means that we’re in danger of taking in extra calories for no reason! It may sound silly, but I drink a glass of water every time I start to feel unexpected hunger pangs. 9 times out of 10, I’m just  thirsty!

So there we have it, five straight forward reasons to start drinking more water immediately! Of course none of this is new, but you’d be surprised at how many of us are drinking diet soda, coffee, or tea instead.  If you’re feeling sluggish despite getting good sleep, if you’re not seeing the fat loss you’d expect despite paying close attention to your diet, or if you’re simply finding that your mouth is dry more often than not, toss out your Coke Zero and drink some water! Make a commitment to drink an extra 500ml a day and take it from there. Yes, the peeing will drive you nuts for a while… but stay strong, it will pass! (Pun Intended.) :)

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