Importance of Water
Water. It is everywhere. It covers approximately 70 percent of the Earth’s surface. More importantly to the bodybuilder, it makes up nearly 70 percent of the body of a lean individual. Water is required for transport of the nutrients, hormones, and other messengers in the body. It is also required for many chemical reactions within the body. Digestion, nerve transmissions, muscle contractions, energy production, and joint lubrication all require water, as well.
Since water is essential for all of these functions within the body it is obviously an important part of a bodybuilder’s diet. Water is lost through urination, perspiration, respiration, and other waste removal functions. Increasing the workload on the body increases the water loss, as well. During a workout the body loses water faster through increased perspiration to cool the body, increased respiration to remove carbon dioxide created in the muscles, and increased metabolic processes increasing the waste product production. This leads to an increased need for water.
Water is needed to fill out the muscles as well. Muscle cells are over 70 percent water and when the body is dehydrated the muscles appear flat. A bodybuilder taking in adequate water will have full, powerful looking muscles. The muscle cells also rely on water to produce energy and facilitate contractions.
Water is essential for strong muscle contractions. It starts with the nerve impulse and the chemical reactions that happen at that level. Then the muscle cells require water for the transport of nutrients through the cell wall for energy production. The water also lubricates the muscle fibers, allowing for less friction and stronger contractions. And finally, the fuller, thicker muscle provides greater leverage.
Protein metabolism requires water, even more than metabolizing other nutrients. The removal of the nitrogen requires water for the chemical reactions and transport. The kidneys need extra water to help with removal of wastes produced during protein metabolism and the anabolism and catabolism associated with bodybuilding. Water is an essential for anabolism. It transports the amino acids to the muscles for repair and building.
A common myth in bodybuilding is that too much water will cause the body to hold water. In reality, it is just the opposite. When the body begins to become dehydrated it shuttles water into every nook and cranny to hold onto it. The best storage place is between the muscle and skin. The way to reduce this excess water is to increase water intake. Once the body is sure it will get enough then it will begin to get rid of the stored water. Maintaining an adequate water intake is the best way to combat water retention.
Recommended Amount of Water
The recommended daily intake of water for the average person is eight glasses. For a hard training bodybuilder it increases, to as much as a gallon (or more) each day. Strong, resilient, and full muscles require water. Metabolizing all that extra protein bodybuilders take in requires water. And, keeping the overall system running efficiently requires water. With all of that in mind, it is easy to see why water is one of the essential parts of the bodybuilder’s nutritional regimen.