Everybody knows water is important for a healthy life, but think of it this way; we can go weeks without food, but no more than about 48 hours without water. In addition, water is ranked second only to oxygen as the most important nutrient for the body, and studies have proven that even the slightest decreases in the body’s water balance can seriously affect a person’s health and performance. Water also plays a huge role in both reducing fat AND increasing lean tissue. So, regardless of your goals, you’ve got no excuse NOT to greatly increase your daily water consumption.

How can water help you lose weight?

Drinking plenty of water is crucial for anyone wanting to get lean and ripped. Water allows your kidneys and entire digestive system to function properly and filter toxins out of your body. Drinking more water helps to eliminate constipation and causes you to release more water through excretion, thereby dropping “water retention”. It also allows your metabolism to function more effectively so you can decrease body fat.

In addition, drinking water before a meal makes you feel fuller, so you can end up eating smaller portions. And of course, drinking water also means you’re not drinking something else—such as sugary, caloric beverages.

How can water help you gain muscle?

In order to move muscle, you need water. Muscle is considered an active tissue and water is found in the highest concentrations in active tissue.

If your body is dehydrated, chances are you’re not going to have a very productive weight lifting session. Why? Your muscles are deprived of electrolytes. If you are dehydrated, it will affect your strength, energy levels and ability to build muscle – so get drinking! Since our lean tissue is compromised of 75% water, dehydration will hinder an anabolic environment for your muscle cells to grow.

Another important reason to stay hydrated is because our joints need protection by synovial fluid. And guess what? It is comprised of mostly water. So if you can’t produce enough synovial fluid, you may be compromising your joints every time you train.

Water also greatly facilitates our digestion and for those of us who consume high amounts of protein on a daily basis in order to build muscle, extra water is needed to reduce stress on the kidneys and liver. It’s also important to drink lots when you are carb-loading so your body can store the much needed glucose as glycogen.

How much water do we really need?

It depends on your size, weight, activity level and where you live. In general, you should try to drink about an ounce of water for each pound you weigh, every day. For example, if you weigh 150lbs, that’s 150oz (roughly 4.4 liters) per day. If you’re living in a hot climate and exercising a lot, you’d be on the higher end of that range; if you’re in a cooler climate and mostly sedentary, you’d need less. That may seem like a lot, but as you get into the habit of drinking more, you will notice your thirst increasing, and it becomes second nature.

Still not sure if you’re getting enough H2O? Check the toilet bowl! If your pee is clear or very light yellow, you’re well hydrated. The darker it is, the more dehydrated you are.

How can you consume more water throughout your day? Try these tips:

  • Carry a sports bottle with you and fill it up periodically.
  • Keep a glass of water on your desk at work.
  • Keep another glass next to your bed (we are always dehydrated first thing in the morning)
  • If you lose track of how much water you’ve had throughout the day, place an elastic band on your bottle after every liter you drink, this way you don’t have to worry about remembering your intake, just count the bands

Written by Angel Simmons for Kosta Kromidas.com