Water and Hydration

We are mostly made up of water.  About 55 to 60% of your body is water.  In fact, your body composition determines how much water is in your body since different types of cells contain different amounts of water.  For example, fat tissue is about 25% water, whereas muscle tissue is closer to 75% water.  

Getting enough water for your body is important for many reasons, including bringing nutrients to your cells and removing waste, lubricating your joints, and regulating your body temperature.  In order to keep your body functioning well, you need to make sure you properly hydrate and maintain your fluid balance, which is the relationship between the water going into your body and the water going out.  We take in water through both our food and drinks.  In fact, most people get about 4 cups of water just from eating food each day.  Certain foods, such has raw fruits and veggies are especially high in water.  However, the majority of our water is, of course, going to come from drinks.  

So, how much do you need to drink each day?  In general, your body regulates thirst so that you know when you need to drink more.  When it’s warmer, you’re in a drier climate, or you’ve been sweating, you normally feel thirstier.  However, there does tend to be a gap in time between when you start losing fluid and when you actually become thirsty.  Even a small drop in fluid can affect your ability to think and focus well or perform well during exercise.  Also, some people even mistake thirst for hunger and may eat more when they actually should be drinking.  Finding out how much you should be drinking can be helpful to make sure you stay properly hydrated.  

Most adults need somewhere around 12 cups of water a day.  However, as would be expected, bigger people usually need more fluid than smaller people, and if you’re exercising hard you could need anywhere up to 24 cups of water a day!

To find your approximate water needs in ounces you can divide your weight in pounds by two.  For example, if you weigh 130 pounds, you probably need at least 65 ounces of water each day. This is just a starting point though.  If you are exercising, it’s hot or dry, or you’ve had something salty or alcoholic, you may need more.  This is where listening to your body’s signals is very important.  If you’re feeling thirsty, you are probably already on your way to becoming dehydrated and should up your water intake.

Overall, many of us, especially those of us CrossFitters who are exercising hard and often, may not be getting the amount of water that we should. Calculate the average amount that you need and try to at least meet that amount each day and see how you feel.  Maybe it will even help you think better or improve your next workout.