Water Doesn’t Suck
Needless to say, Adam Sandler got it right.
Water has become one of the more overlooked elements in an optimal nutrition program for body composition change. If you wonder how getting the right amount of “high-quality H20” relates to ultimately losing more fat, check out this Precision Nutrition article on why water intake may have a greater impact on your challenge results (and long term success) than you might think.
Before we go further, we have to answer the question: what is optimal daily water intake? The graphic below shows how to calculate your target water intake based on Transformat10n Lab guidelines. These guidelines were adapted from our review of the current research as well as the recommendations of trusted organizations.
So you’ve calculated your total daily water target? Good! Now comes the most important part: finding a way to consistently hit your target without having to devote a large amount of mental energy to it (given plenty of that brainpower is already being put towards exercise and food prep).
If you find that water intake is a struggle — or completely off your radar — read up below on three real-world strategies to help improve.
Strategy #1 — The ‘intakes’ strategy
Simple and straightforward, the intakes strategy plays off consistency you have already built with your meals and/or snacks. By choosing a set amount of water to consume with each meal/snack, you’ll become very familiar with what that amount looks like, and won’t have to spend time measuring. Here’s how it works:
Calculate your total daily water needs and subtract the amount of water you typically consume around your workout time. Divide the remaining amount by your number of food intakes (meals and snacks). Consume the resulting amount each time you have a meal or snack.
Strategy #2 — The ‘fail safe’ strategy
The crux of this strategy is to “control what you can control.” Every day we wake up and every day we go to bed. Most participants in the challenge are also exercising on a regular basis. If we build a simple hydration habit during these three times (waking, workout, bedtime), we’ll put ourselves in a position to intuitively finish out the day. Here’s how this works:
Calculate your total daily water needs and multiply by 60%. Take that amount and distribute however you please between your waking, workout (consider pre, during, and post), and before bed. Don’t worry about the last 40% — in most cases, you’ll get at least that much intuitively throughout the day.
For example, if your target daily water intake was 100 oz, you might consume a 16 oz glass upon waking and before bed. Then drink 8 oz before exercise, sip 4 oz from the water fountain at the gym, and drink 16 oz mixed with your protein powder after exercise.
Note: For non-workout days, your water needs will likely be lower. On those days you can choose to either drink your ‘workout’ time water in another sitting or simply build a little extra in to your waking and before bed times.
Strategy #3 — The ‘ABCs’
The ABCs are minimal-effort strategies that make drinking more water almost involuntary. This can be accomplished by enhancing the flavor, the container, or the awareness and accessibility.
A. ADD SOME FLAVOR. Chop up some fruit/herbs and mix and match to form some delicious concoctions like strawberry mint or watermelon basil. For those more time sensitive, just add a quick shot of water flavoring or essential amino acid product.
B. BOTTLES UP! Find a unique bottle or container you like to use and carry with you. You WILL drink more. This can work well in synergy with the ‘intakes’ strategy above because you can figure out exactly how full your container must be to meet your water goal for each meal/snack.
C. CREATE VISUALS. Purchase a 12 or 24 pack of bottled water and place several bottles in your fridge on your counter, at your desk/workplace or wherever areas you look at/see often.