Water and weight loss have a complex relationship. Drinking too much water while eating foods that cause your body to absorb and store it can cause water retention, which not only makes weight loss difficult, but makes you appear about five pounds heavier than you actually are.
However, not drinking enough water when you exercise can lead to dehydration, which reduces how effective your exercise is, as well as opening you up to the risk of kidney damage and other serious health issues.
In addition to helping your metabolism, and helping your muscles to get the most out of exercise, drinking the right amount of water in a day can improve your skin tone, energy levels, mood, and even your concentration.
How Much Water Should I Drink?
Conventional wisdom has this at eight glasses a day, give or take a glass if you’re short or tall. This is equal to four pint glasses, or three regular-sized water bottles. If you are not exercising you can afford to drink a little less water, but you need to keep your liquid intake high so that your body has enough water to power its metabolism.
Does Tea and Juice Count?
For the last time, no – absolutely not. Nothing that isn’t water counts as water. Tea, juice, and even sports drinks contain electrolytes or caffeine. When drunk exclusively all they do is cause your body to shed water (with all your new electrolytes) in order to get the concentration of electrolytes back to normal.
How do I Prevent Water Retention?
Many dieters avoid water because they fear retaining it. This is counter-productive, because just like fat cells, your body will think you’re not getting enough water and try to store it. Drinking a decent amount of water regularly, while exercising, will not cause you to retain water – unless you eat a lot of salt and white starch.
Salt causes your body to absorb water to neutralize your electrolyte balance, so if you have a junk food binge, you’re likely to swell up like a balloon.
How Much Water Should I Drink While Exercising
This differs depending on your body weight and activity levels, but if you are doing strenuous aerobic exercise you should drink one full water bottle (750ml) every half hour or so to prevent dehydration.
If you don’t drink enough water during exercise, toxins will begin to build up in your muscles and organs – most notably the kidneys. These can make your muscles tired more quickly, and reduce the effect your workout has. They can also cause damage to your kidneys, or kidney stones.