You know water is a key component to your overall health. But did you know that hydration is a big part of maintaining your energy and regulating your appetite throughout the day? But it’s a lot more complicated than “8 glasses a day” because everyone is different. So how much should you drink and how often? This article breaks it down by the times of day.
Morning: The Trick to Being Hydrated and Caffeinated
The initial moments of the morning are a critical period for water intake. This is sensible considering you’ve just undergone a stretch of 7 to 8 hours without any liquids. It would indeed be unusual if you weren’t experiencing thirst!
If you fail to consume water at the start of your day and simply proceed with your daily activities, you expose yourself to a heightened risk of becoming dehydrated. Consequently, you might be more susceptible to dehydration symptoms like headaches or weariness.
One way I manage my water intake in the morning is to use coffee as a reward for downing at least 16 ounces of water as soon as I wake up. By making this a daily habit and setting up a reward mechanism with coffee, this helps me start off my day hydrated and caffeinated!
Prior to Meals
Incorporating a glass of water into your routine before eating can simplify the task of maintaining hydration as the day unfolds. This practice can additionally help quell cravings and prevent overindulgence.
A study showcased that consuming 16.9 ounces of water before breakfast resulted in a 13 percent decrease in calorie intake . Further findings indicated that drinking between 12.5 and 16.9 ounces of water prior to lunch reduced feelings of hunger and contributed to lower overall calorie consumption among test subjects.
Pre- and Post-Workout
Hydration preceding and following workouts is indispensable, particularly when engaging in strenuous exercise or outdoor training.
There is always the conundrum of having to use the restroom mid-workout if you drink too much water, so try not to chug it. For me the sweet spot is 15 minutes before and then having the water bottle with me during a class, cardio, or weight training session.
The American College of Sports Medicine suggests adhering to these guidelines:
- Before Exercise: Consume 14-22 ounces of fluids within 2 hours prior to training
- During Exercise: Drink 6-12 ounces of fluids every 15-20 minutes
- After Exercise: Consume at least 16-24 ounces of fluids
For workouts lasting less than an hour, water alone can generally suffice for hydration. For longer or more intensive workouts, incorporating an electrolyte beverage mix (like Smartwater or Essentia) may be a better choice. Adding some cucumber, lemon, or even a few drops of tart cherry juice can go a long way. Tart cherry juice is known to reduce muscle soreness, so you get a 2 for 1 deal with that.
Do you find yourself grappling with an afternoon energy slump at your workplace or school? Is there a post-lunch crash that makes it challenging to persevere until the end of the day?
Rather than resorting to coffee, which could hinder nighttime sleep, or a doughnut, which delivers a fleeting energy boost followed by another drop due to low blood sugar, it’s wiser to opt for water. Alternatively, you could go for a green juice, or flavored electrolyte-based water. I like GFit or Gatorade Zero. Sparkling water can also be a good substitute if you are a diet soda type of person. Trust me, you will feel a lot better and not experience a crash.
Remember, one of the primary indicators of dehydration is fatigue. Your body is composed of approximately 60 percent water, and it necessitates fluids to execute all the vital processes that sustain your well-being.
Consuming a substantial amount of water before bedtime isn’t advisable. This could result in waking up multiple times in the middle of the night to use the bathroom.
On the other hand, you don’t want to be going to bed thirsty, so a good compromise is to frontload your intake earlier in the day and take just a few sips at night before going to bed without overdoing it.
One challenge with drinking more water is actually remembering to do so. Set reminders for the morning, lunchtime, before and after workouts, and so on.
Over time, you’ll likely develop a habit of drinking water throughout the day, making alarms unnecessary. However, they can prove valuable during the initial phase of habit formation.
Use a measuring water bottle
If alarms don’t resonate with you, an alternative approach is to acquire a transparent, refillable water bottle.
Employ a permanent marker to create distinct lines on the bottle. Label each mark to indicate the quantity of water to be consumed at regular intervals. For instance, mark levels to achieve by breakfast, lunch, afternoon workout, etc.
You don’t have to drink just tap! You can get fancy with the types of water recommendations I have in this article:
Elevate your hydration experience by infusing your drinks with fresh fruit or electrolyte drink mixes like Hydrant. These additions offer additional vitamins, minerals, and an extra burst of flavor.
Remember, warm beverages can also contribute to hydration. Teas and coffees, even when caffeinated, contribute to your daily hydration goal. Just ensure your caffeine intake stays within safe limits (around 400 milligrams)
Eat your water.
Fruits and vegetables can also contribute to hydration . Consider keeping these options in your refrigerator:
These foods can serve as nutritious snacks, side dishes, or salad toppings. You can also infuse water with these fruits for added flavor.
Time to Prioritize Hydration! You will be amazed by how this one simple habit can be a total game changer!