Seriously? It’s already F’ing Pumpkin Spice Latte season again? OK, I need a glass of water to calm down. And maybe so do you.
Do you feel called out?
So what does that old adage of ‘needing to drink more water’ mean as a proposition for you, anyway?
Welp, let’s talk about it.
Water can help you with your fitness goals. It’s literally that easy. Drink more water, get better results.
Water helps you workout gooder. It literally helps with the functioning of muscles, connective tissues, joints, brain stuff, lungs, heart, kidneys, liver, gallbladder, and more in daily life, so imagine how good that is during a workout! Ever tried to work out without your lungs? Not so easy. (Anyone that’s had a run-in with Covid or Asthma or both knows what I’m talking about)
It gives you a really good chance of having the best workout possible. And if you’re drinking it while you’re working out, it helps reduce muscle cramps and fatigue so you can get through your session with flying colours.
Water makes you smart and happy. Ok, maybe it’s more so that not being dehydrated improves your mood and cognitive ability, but we’ll take this, and encourage everyone to drink their water to prevent dehydration, since we all win when we’re thinking clearly and feeling good, right? (1)
Now let’s get a bit uncouth: did you know that water is the thing that helps many body processes, including peeing and pooping? Gross as it may be, it’s essential to the body’s proper functioning for these things to work correctly. The water literally funds these processes, and in cases of severe dehydration you stop doing these things. And even though not every time is a convenient time for nature to call, it becomes a much larger issue when nature can’t call at all. And we definitely don’t want that for you! (2)
Now for any folks who have goals around weight loss or body recomposition:
Replacing other beverages, like the harbinger of dark days, the Pumpkin Spice Latte, with a glass of water equals a calorie reduction over your day. Every sip of Satan’s breast milk that you don’t consume is not only a win for humanity and a blow to the evil multinationals, but also it’s a win for your goal of body composition change goals. A 2012 study found that replacing two calorie-laden drinks per day with water resulted in an average weight loss of between 2 & 2.5% in a test group. (3)
While that doesn’t sound like a lot, all of your efforts will add up, and as long as those efforts are reasonable, you should be able to maintain them as well.
AND, the part you were hoping to hear, water actually assists the body with burning fat. Yes, it’s that easy (and way harder – but we’re trying to sell you on this, so you know, easier.) Water molecules interact with fat molecules (triglycerides) in hydrolysis, which creates glycerol and fatty acids. And this is the first step in lipolysis – the process of metabolizing fat. (4) So, without going further in that nerdy science lesson, you can see that water is required. And the simple fact is that the easiest and most neutral source of water…is… (any guesses?) water. There is the argument that you get water from anything that contains water, even diuretics or food that contains moisture, but that complicates things. Keep it Simple, Su-su-sudio. (You’re not stupid, and I refuse to call you that. Also big love to the complicated man that is Phil Collins.)
Water can act as a natural appetite suppressant. This is a good thing, because it’s cheaper than buying vintage ephedrine from the 70s on eBay… Unless you like fancy imported water. Then you may have some other stuff going on that this piece won’t cover. Sorry.
Back to the water as an appetite suppressant. If you drink water with a meal, you will ‘feel full’ faster. It’s that simple. The stomach only has so much space, and once it’s reached capacity, then the brain is signaled and hunger drops off. (5)
Now, of course, there are mitigating circumstances. If you are suffering from depression or many other mental health issues then you may find that the full feeling may be harder to associate as your brain looks for reward sources (one of them being food.)
Water can also act as a catalyst to help the body burn more calories. When you drink cold to room temperature water, you can burn 2-3% more calories than you would without the water. (6) It is suggested in the noted study that drinking cold water may help you burn more calories because your body has to expend energy to heat it up. And that’s an easy win, unless you hate water, then it’s absolution for that time that you accidently crushed your aunt’s prime azaleas and blamed the dog. So drink up.
A little note after all the calorie and appetite talk – we like to encourage folks to eat when they’re hungry and to learn to tune in to their body to understand their needs beyond just choosing to restrict because of any pressure to do so. You get to choose your own goals and decide what fitness means for you.
Final point, and it’s going to seem pretty obvious for you in context of all the other things I have mentioned here…
So, it’s not just because I’m a union sympathizer that I am bad-mouthing the fall cash cow of the siren that drags your fitness goals to the rocks. Although I think, if I may, that our system is so flush with behemoths and goliaths that anything that brings more balance to the world can only serve the greater humanity. And part of that fight is convincing you that drinking water is not only good, but so beneficial to your fitness goals. (Tap water will do, unless you’re in Nunavut, Mississippi, Northern Saskatchewan, Michigan… Hmm, maybe that’s a different political and humanitarian issue that I’ll get into more on a tumblr page I’m setting up in a different window as I write this.)
Water really is life. We are mainly bags of water, and we need to keep watering ourselves like an annoying plant that the person at the store said would be super easy to take care of. So why not use water instead of Brawndo**, (even if Brawndo has electrolytes)? I have a feeling that once you get into the habit of choosing a glass of water over the FOMO that marketing is designed to create, you’re going to feel better pretty quickly. Or not. Don’t let me tell you what to do. But at least you’re drinking more water, which is the point.
PS: We didn’t touch on how much water to drink in a day. The simple answer is: more than you currently are. At first when you up your water consumption you may have to pee more, but your body adjusts to it pretty quickly. And no, you don’t ‘hold water weight’ from drinking more water, in fact, kind of the opposite. But that’s a different article on a different tumblr page I’m currently setting up in yet another window on my future typewriter…
PPS: You can totally have your PSLs all season long. Those fall flavours are delightfully irresistible, aren’t they? Just don’t forget to drink your water, too!
**Underrated movie – Idiocracy. You should check it out if you enjoy dark comedies about social commentary that have remained relatively relevant even 15+ years on.