Did you know that around 75% of the human body (yep, our bodies) contains water? According to Wikipedia, this is almost all contained in muscle tissue. Yep, our bodies are like giant walking, talking watermelons (did you know they consist mostly of water as well?)
The reason why I wanted to cover this essential nutrient, this key requirement to a healthy body, is because of how underrated it actually is. In the sense that most people do not see for the “miracle drink” it should be.
Whether your goal is weight loss, muscle building/retaining, metabolism, a high water intake should be an essential part of your nutrition plan. Besides the benefits from being hydrated, you will find yourself to have an energy level- a consistent one, throughout the day. This also means that with the required water available, your body performs at optimum levels. Factors such as oxygen cycling (metabolism), detoxification (removal of impurities within your body) and many others all contribute to the consistent energy levels throughout the day.
So how is this different from a coffee, an energy drink or even a pre-workout shake? The answer is that all of these are “artificial methods” of energy gain. And as the saying goes, if you don’t do it the right way, it won’t last. In this case, most- if not all of these products contain caffeine, which is a stimulant. Taking them does not mean that your body will now be optimized instantly- rather your brain will be, giving you the “energy" that will push you through. And unlike the natural treatment of water, energy from caffeine is temporary. And will always leave you more drained than you started, once the effects have worn off.
The darker side to caffeine is with the term “stimulant" itself. Like so many others, it will always leave you wanting it again. And again, and again and again. It’s kinda like smoking, except that the damage done is much less. To make sure caffeine works for you, and not you for it, control your intake daily, and not go into the “coffee high” some people think is necessary to get work done. I drink coffee on an almost daily basis, due to the fact that when I am not at the gym or at work, I am usually at the library, working on something, whether it be on this site, or an app. To balance this out, I drink water in conjunction, and this has proven to be even more effective to me. In addition, I am very big on music; and a good track always throws any chance of procrastination out of the window.
I’ve always believed that the amount of sugar in your coffee is a huge contribution to the energy hit you get from it. To be simple, the more sugar, the greater the energy spike you get. And just like caffeine, this has it’s own bad results.
I may go into depth on the topic sometime down the track (likely in meal planning), but for now, know that, yes, sugar is necessary to the body- but only the right amount. Take too much and you run many risks- the most prominent being obesity, and another more deadly one being the increase of Diabetes. As always, the general law of nutrition applies: cut out the soda, fast food, processed food, etc.
For us lifters, this is the holy grail of all supplements (except whey protein, and yes, hell yes, creatine). Take the right amount, and you’re a beast at the gym setting PRs every day and when it’s all done, you can come back and complete any other task you have remaining for the day (if any), with enough juice left in the tank. Take too much, and you literally turn into a whirlwind of a lifters nightmare, too hyped up, high above cloud 9000 to even focus on that lift. And when you’re done, I mean you’re done. You’re drained as hell, you can’t do anything else but go home and crawl to bed. Trust me, I’ve been there, and I’d be lying if I tell you I have learnt my lessons- sometimes the extra boost works in your favor as long as its not way over the top. And on all-out, killer 3, 4 or even 5+ hour sessions, as I do sometimes, they push you through all the way until you’re done.
Just like above, I won’t go into too much detail here on pre-workout, but know that one of the reasons, if not the biggest reason behind its hit is again, caffeine.
At the end of the day
Above any supplement or cup of “Joe”, make sure you get that required level of water in every day. That means, at least 2 Liters for the average adult, and in my case, or anyone supplementing with Creatine, at least 4 Liters. Keep it consistent, make it a habit and you wont think of it again- you’ll just get it done.