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Large Volume Water Intake

Many years ago I posted justifications for a large water intake. Although I still believe in significant water intake (2-4L/day), it may only really be necessary for those who are really pushing themselves physically. Nonetheless, I have included my original post below:

Present-day suggestions

It seems that there is a lot of folklore about the daily water consumption guidelines. Recently I discovered a great article that looks into this topic further and debunks some of the generally-accepted truths on the subject.

I would recommend that readers have a look at the following article:

Drink 8 Glasses a Day?

Former suggestions

The following were some of the perceived justifications of drinking 4 or more litres a day. I am keeping it posted here for interest sake.

Tom Bennett (bennetttt@csc-scc.nhq.gc.ca) wrote:
: Has anyone who advises 8 litres of water per day actually gave this a try?
: I tried it 1 day and by the 5th litre I had to run to the bathroom every
: 5-10 minutes for 2 hours, not an exciting way to spend the day.  Were not
: camels here.  This may be a little overkill.  I think this advise is out of
: line unless you can store the stuff in a hump on your back.

I don't know many others who have been suggesting a rather large daily water intake, but I have posted several times some of the believed benefits of exceeding this. Recommendations by the average health board, etc. often say 8-10 glasses of water. This is about 2l. I suggested attempting to substantially more than this guideline because:

  • in normal weather conditions, and low activity, your body typically loses about 2.5l/d to skin, lungs, sweat, and excretion. When water intake is lower than required, the kidneys must make up for this by reducing urine production (and changes in osmolality).
  • warmer weather significantly increases sweat output (~1.4l/d), resulting in a need of approx. 3.4l/d to maintain balance.
  • in "prolonged heavy exercise" as would be typical from the average serious bodybuilder or fitness individual, one can expect far higher sweat volumes (in the order of about 5l), leading to a need of almost 7l/d.
  • we know that one's current state of hydration is a significant factor in your "strength". In the gym, being completely hydrated is especially important, and will ensure that you are not being limited in your training productivity.
  • often, dehydration is masked as hunger, and a somewhat-dehydrated individual will eat in an attempt to satiate this feeling. Drinking water frequently will help keep caloric maintenance a simpler task.
  • a somewhat insignificant factor, but water-retention is increased substantially with low water intake due to aldosterone. A high rate of water consumption often will limit water retention to some extent.

Don't attempt to start immediately drinking many litres a day as you will spend a while in the bathroom! Gradually work up an extra 0.5l/d or so, and you will probably find it easier to accommodate the extra volume. In the end, you should not need more than a couple trips to the bathroom a day even after consuming many litres.

Good luck, and don't forget to keep that 4l jug with you at all times!

Cal.

 


Reader's Comments:

Please leave your comments or suggestions below!
2010-07-10John Torres
 I use an iPhone app to help me with my water intake vs. my workouts. My biggest problem is the taste of bottled water. I hate it. The app " Absorb Water" actually allows me to drink 16 different types of Liquids and calculates the water content of green tea as an example. Now I can drink an apple , eat a bowl of soup and have 2 power drinks and " Absorb Water" keeps a total running on my daily hydration process. The app even allows me to monitor and keep track of my urine colour.
2009-03-13Phillip
 I don't "workout" per se like I used to; but in the summer, temp 85-100F, working as a roughneck or welding. It's nothing for me to pickup and kill a gallon jug of water every 1-2hrs. I do have to take salt and mineral tabs also. I admit that I sweat like a wildman, but I've never had heat stroke and I don't have to hit the latrine with any more frequency than days that I don't work. Temperature and activity play
a very significant role in hydration. It also varies greatly by individual, age,size, physical condition, etc. For instance;
I'm 49, 6'7" tall, weigh 325lbs, have a little gut, but in pretty good shape and it good health. So the old 8-16oz glasses of water per day or 8 liters do not necessarily always apply.
2007-07-26heinz
 Also note that a litle bit of salt (NaCl) inside the water helps it to reach body cells. It is recommended a level teaspoonfull per liter. Isotonic drinks and mineral water may also contain salt.

For customizing the ammount of water intake one medical site recommended to look at the color of the output (slightly coloured is good).

Some people may have medical conditions that make playing with water intake levels contraindicated, so consult with a doctor if you are not sure.
2007-07-25heinz
 You all are probably avare of the fact that body uses water for cooling itself. It also appears that the cooling mechanism can adapt itself according to the ammount of liquid availabel. So, if someone is physically active in a hot climate and recieves 8 liters a day then that someone maybe benefits from it (not a one day process though). errr .. um.. uh.. theoretically ,,
2007-07-18Olivia
 I need to find out a schedule of recommended daily water intake. One can drink 8 glasses of water in an hour, but that isn't a good idea.

So what is the best plan or water intake schedule?
Thanks.
 It really depends on your activity levels, but in general you should be fine to simply space out the intake throughout the day. That way it'll be easier to enjoy.
 
2007-05-11jamal
 where is how many gallons of water camels drink at once i dont see it
2006-09-15walt
 I know that a camel can drink up to 32 gallons of water at once. I once heard the incredible rate at which they can take water in but can't locate the figure now. Do you have that info. thanks
2006-06-25sanghmitra
 sir, camels reduces there urin output to survive in dessert so how come they are not affected by urea toxicity as it is stored in the body for long
 Interesting question. To be honest, I don't know. If someone else has an idea, please post it. Thx.
2006-05-25Concerned
 Can't 8l overhydrate you and cause strain on your heart and kidneys? Also flushing so many times leads to vitamin B deficiency, so if you're going to drink so much water, is it advisable to take supplements?
 Great point! I no longer advise 8l, but 2-4l if you're quite active is probably reasonable. It certainly is important to keep your electrolytes balanced, and so this can be done with the appropriate supplementation (eg. gatorade). In fact, there can be serious injuries from water over-consumption for that very reason (hyponatremia), but it's more of a matter of how quickly you consume than how much (healthy kidneys can apparently process 15 litres a day).
2006-03-28Soraya
 I am currently drinking 3 ltrs of water daily...I walk for an hour daily for 3 days and 2 days I spend 90 minutes at the gym. I feel that I don't go that often to the bathroom and feel heavy at times...Could i be retaining water if so what can I do thanks
2005-05-18 
 

Regarding camels: I know that those humps are fat but how can a camel go so long in the dessert without consumping water? Thank you.

 

Yes, the humps are basically fat, providing a significant energy store for periods of drought and famine. From the little I have read about camels, here's what I understand: Camels have a number of adaptations that allow them to surive 3 weeks without water. During this time, a camel might lose a third of its body weight (water and energy stores) while a human would only need to lose 12% of his bodyweight before dying. Camels can also allow their internal body temperature to increase, delaying the onset of sweating. Apparently, the fact that the fat is concentrated in the humps also means that there is less area for water to evaporate from.

2005-04-01 
 

sir, my body weight is 80kgs fatpercentage is 12.5 my trainning schedule is 3days cardio alternate and three days weight trainning previously my water intake was app 3-4 litres of water in a day now after reading your article i ve decided to increase my water intake will it help me become more lean and water retention reduce during my workouts i sweat tremendously atleast 3t shirts are fully wet during a 45 minute trainiing schedule please suggest me app water intake thanks

 


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