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Water serves many functions in the body, and it’s particularly critical for bodybuilders because training and nutrition regimens really increase the need for it.
Here are the primary benefits of drinking enough water.
Bodybuilders often underestimate the importance of keeping themselves well hydrated — hydration status can have a direct impact on bodybuilding progress. Try to drink 16 to 20 ounces of water a half hour or so before you train (and continue to drink water while you train). You may be surprised to notice that you seem a little stronger that day. By increasing your water consumption before training, you increase your blood volume, helping to pump up your muscles. Having fuller muscles can help you lift more weight or pump out an extra rep or two. Over time, this can enhance your gains.
On the other hand, if you don’t have enough water in your system, you might feel sluggish and weak. Staying underhydrated can affect your immune response and ultimately your ability to recover from your training, negatively impacting your gains.
People often think of water as devoid of nutritional value. Nothing could be further from the truth. Water contains minerals — either added or occurring naturally, including sodium, calcium, potassium and magnesium — and other beneficial components such as bicarbonates. Due to their size and because of the loss of minerals through sweating while working out, bodybuilders need to take in more minerals than the average person. Water helps replenish these and other vital nutrients at the same time that it rehydrates the body.
For best results, drink a minimum of eight eight-ounce glasses of water each day. Although it’s recommended that bodybuilders take in up to a gallon of water daily, you can also get some bang out of other beverages. Milk and juice are mostly water. Coffee and tea, while they exert a small diuretic (dehydrating) effect, ultimately add more fluids than they remove.
Finally, emphasize drinking between meals rather than during them. Drinking a lot of fluid with whole-food meals can dilute stomach enzymes and slow protein digestion. Get in your fluids, but do so at times other than during your meals.