Let me share a key fitness element for your better health: WATER
I didn’t work out for a week, a whole WEEK! But it was with good reason. I just returned from an amazing week in New York City. It was a vacation with my daughter’s band group filled with full planned days, a once in a lifetime experience, filled with priceless memories with my mom and daughter. So I had no problem skipping the gym for a week. I didn’t even mind indulging in some less-than-healthy food choices. It’s not like I could go to New York and not at least TRY the food carts, right? I can tell you, though, there was one element of fitness I missed GREATLY.
Before I tell you what it is though, walk with me through what may be your normal day. Do you start out with a cup of coffee and a quick snack, running out the door? You probably have a snack or two in your desk, and lunch is a halfway decent meal and maybe a soda. Coming home, you have a nice dinner while you sip an adult beverage, and maybe finish the night with some milk before bed. What is missing here? I hope you noticed… more important than exercise or even food, it’s something you simply cannot live without: WATER.
Water: A Key Fitness Element
The first homework for all of my clients is this: at least a gallon a day! That’s 6 of those 20 ounce water bottles you see everywhere. You may feel it’s uncomfortable to run to the bathroom this much. On my trip, my water bottle leaked out a couple times, so I had days where I barely got any water in. I am used to being very disciplined with this and I can assure you, my body was far more uncomfortable with the swelling and aching than any full bladder I’ve ever had. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not faulting the tour coordinators, it is our entire culture that only provides unhealthy substitutes like soda on a regular basis. Don’t be normal though! Set up yourself for success! Below are a few of my tricks to make it easier.
#1 – Fill a glass of water with ice before bed. Just having that fresh, crisp water before your feet hit the floor does more than just wake you up. We are learning that water in the morning helps all the body’s systems start working better, and has been said to help people lose weight. Put a little pre-workout in there before your morning gym session, and you’ll hit the treadmill running!
#2 – Keep it measured, by using a gallon water jug you pour out of, or by keeping track of how many times you’ve found the bottom of your water bottle. I like to set a pace… 20oz by the time I’m done with my warmup in the morning, 20oz during the workout, 20oz by the time I’m done with breakfast. There is 128 ounces in a gallon, so this way I’m halfway done with my water intake before I even start the day. Do whatever is easiest for you to track, just keep it in check!
#3 – Spice it up! Whether it’s a tea bag, a slice of lemon, or the many water flavorings available, it doesn’t have to be boring. It just has to be water. No crime in altering it slightly to make it fun!
#4 – Sit down and plan for those days… you know, the days when “it” hits the fan. Leave water bottles in your car, your desk, your gym bag, your locker, wherever you could find yourself stuck for a while. If you plan for the rough days, being hydrated and thus having a clear head can make those days a little more bearable.
Water is truly a key fitness element, the most important element of your fitness plan.
If you are getting ready to hit the gym as your new year’s resolution, be ready for it by starting this habit now. If you only have the energy to change one thing about yourself, make it be this. If you are a fellow gym rat already… bring an extra bottle for me. Never know when I’ll show up with a leaky bottle again!