Hydration – A key factor to energy levels and weightloss

Hydration a key factor to energy levels and weightloss

In the summertime
When the weather is high
You can stretch right up
And touch the sky
When the weather is fine
You got, er… Personal Training on your mind!

Bit hot out there, isn’t it? No doubt everyone’s enjoying the sun in that classic “love it and loathe it” British manner which makes us the decidedly dissatisfied nation we are. However, it’s important to remember that while you’re busy baking yourself to within an inch of lobster-like proportions, necessary precautions must be taken to keep your body in check along the way.

Remaining suitably hydrated is crucial, so YOU MUST DRINK WATER. Any medical journal will tell you how water accounts for more than two thirds of your body, so when that balance is disrupted – particularly in the summer when more water is lost through perspiration – your body’s functionality is compromised. You can become dehydrated, you can suffer from fatigue and, in our training sessions, you may experience a decrease in your energy levels.

In a bid to help you combat, and ideally prevent those issues, here’s how a typical conversation with a client regarding this topic would normally go down around this time of the year. H2Oh yes!

Hi, James! Why do Personal Trainers always harp on about water?

Because it’s the purest form of fluid you can put into your body. Water contains absolutely no sugar and no preservatives and your body can absorb it quicker and more effectively than anything else. The more water you consume as part of a healthy living routine, the more lean your body will become.

So how much is enough?

Numerous studies have been conducted over the years to determine the exact amount of water we should be drinking. Is it five litres per day? Is it eight glasses per day? Is it simply when you feel like it? Ultimately, just like your fitness goals, it varies depending on what is suited to you; regardless of those studies, there is no fixed answer. I always suggest a pint of water with a meal (based on three meals a day) and then ideally one or two pints in between or after. That should suffice on a general scale and ensure you don’t go thirsty throughout the day. Always try to be fully hydrated BEFORE you commence physical activity and keep a bottle of water with you DURING exercise. Remember, the more you step up your exercise the more water you’ll need to take on.

But water is boring! Can I drink something else?

You can, but it won’t be as effective. Carbonated drinks are high in sugar and may leave you feeling bloated as the body competes with the added preservatives and digestion is slowed down. Meanwhile, fruit juices and flavoured waters contain fructose and, depending on the brand, don’t necessarily count as one of your five-a-day. Squash is OK, but always opt for the sugar-free options and use a minimal amount.

Fine… But STILL boring!

It may sound like a simple concept but bottle some up and chuck it in the fridge – chilled water is far tastier! Experiment by muddling in some lemon, lime and cucumber. The result will be a more refreshing drink and you get the added benefit of making it alkaline. Alternatively, give sparkling water a go instead.

What about tea and coffee? Will that help?

Of course! Herbal tea is far more beneficial, as is coffee without milk and sugar or flavoured syrups. Just bear in mind that caffeinated drinks can make the body produce more urine so don’t rely on that as you’re only source. I often have a glass of water alongside my daily coffee.

Are sports drinks OK?

As always, be sure to read the label because they can be high in sugar. I know I sound like a broken record, but high sugar equals high calories. Some sports drinks contain vitamins and minerals, but also epic amounts of caffeine – often the equivalent to two cans of fizzy drink. Water is always the healthier choice and the best way to replace fluids lost through exercise.

I have to ask… Alcohol has water, right?

Right, but it’s definitely not anything you should consider here! In fact, alcohol makes the body pass more urine than usual, therefore making you more susceptible to dehydration. Like I always say, if you are going to drink then try to drink water alongside alcohol. In addition to helping with hydration, it’ll make you feel lezz fuzzy in the morning.

Do certain foods have a higher water content than others?

They do indeed, and it’s estimated that around 25 per cent of our water needs come from food. Lettuce, celery, radish, green peppers and tomatoes all have a high water content and fit perfectly into a healthy salad, while spinach and broccoli are ideal ingredients to add to a morning smoothie. Healthy vegetable broths and stews will also contribute. I’m not a huge advocate of fruit, but watermelon is the natural choice in this weather.

Anything else I should know?

Dehydration is not always about thirst. The colour of your urine is a great indicator as to whether you’ve consumed enough water (the clearer the better), so always keep tabs on that when nature calls. Plus, the evaporation of sweat on the skin is sped up in warm and dry environments. If you work in air-conditioned office, be sure to keep a glass at your desk at all times.

Thanks, James. That’s now as clear, as, er water…

Glad I could help. See you at the next session!

Hydration - a key factor to energy levels & weightloss