A friend asked me recently what I thought about the practice drinking water first thing in the morning. He wanted to know if there was any truth to some of the health claims he’d read. I kind of had to keep my excitement on the DL when he brought up this topic, because drinking water, and especially making it a habit to drink water first thing in the morning, is a legit life hack.
Water is a vital component of the human body
It’s the most abundant compound in the body, making up 60-70% of your body weight. Water is needed for joint health, digestive health, brain function, respiration, circulation, and much more. Staying hydrated (or not) impacts our performance and how we feel on a day-to-day basis. Hydration can mean the difference between amazing and energized workouts or workouts that seem to drag on. Dehydration as seemingly mild as 1.5% loss of water weight has been shown to reduce bench press strength by 5.6 percent!
It may sound counter-intuitive, but staying hydrated is also a way to drop excess water weight and look leaner. Our bodies will retain water if we aren’t consistently taking in enough to maintain hydration. By providing enough water, we no longer give our bodies a reason to retain water, which causes an unflattering bloated look. So staying hydrated is not only part of staying healthy, but can impact reaching your fitness goals as well.
So how much water is enough?
That’s a tough question, as everyone is different and will have different needs. The most common guideline is to drink eight 8 oz. glasses of water per day, which comes out to 64 oz. or about 2 liters. This is a good goal to aim for if your current intake is less, this recommendation is really meant to provide adequate hydration.
I don’t know about you, but I want more than adequate, I want optimal, so I personally try to drink closer to 3 liters (almost a gallon) per day. That just works for me. To find out what works for you, start to keep a water bottle with you and pay attention to how you feel. You’ll be able to tell what works for you; it’ll be something between feeling groggy or parched and needing to run to the bathroom every 30 minutes.
When should you be drinking water?
That’s really up to you, but we’re finally getting to my friend’s original question: is drinking water first thing in the morning a beneficial practice? Short answer is yes, do it! After being asleep for presumably eight hours, your body will be in need of hydration. Keep a glass or bottle of water by your bed to drink first thing in the morning before breakfast. This jump starts your bodily functions and can even contribute to calorie control efforts at breakfast.
Fitness expert Shawn Stevenson refers to this as taking a daily “inner bath”, which is a really good way to think about it. Obviously it’s also a good practice to hydrate during exercise. A loss of water equal to 1% can occur in as little as 30 minutes of sweaty exercise, and we already know how much that can affect athletic performance!
Otherwise, sipping on water throughout the day is a good way to keep your hydration level up and gives your body a chance to absorb and use that water. Trying to chug all your water in one go at the end of the day is not going to do you much good.
Tying it all together.
Staying hydrated is so, so important for your health and athletic performance. Drinking water before or during meals has been shown to curb caloric intake and assist in weight loss efforts, and staying hydrated consistently can help eliminate water retention and result in looking leaner.
Drinking water first thing in the morning is a healthy habit to develop that can impact other health, weight loss, or athletic goals you may have. It’s such a simple and easy thing to do for yourself, so why not give it a try and see the difference!