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Monday, February 15, 2010

My Water Challenge

I like a good challenge and I'm pretty used to competition. I regularly compete in 5K's, 10K's, 15K's, 1/2's, relay's..however I recently just signed myself up for a different kind of competition...a DIET competition. I don't think I've ever gone on a diet in my life because I've generally maintained a pretty active lifestyle. But one thing I've known for a while and have been wanting to change is my water consumption. I've always lacked in this area and although I think my body has adjusted and seems to still perform pretty well I wonder just how much better I could be. So thus my new diet begins. I won't bore you with all the details (if you want them, click here) but a huge part of it is the water intake. I'm supposed to drink at least 3 liters of water PER DAY! Holy crap! I don't think I drink that in a week! It seems like so much don't you think? Well I thought it was so I did a little research to see if this is even a healthy standard and here is what I found.

A good way to estimate how much water you should consume in a day is to follow this equation:

Take your body weight in pounds and divide that number in half. For example, if you weigh 160 pounds, you should drink at least 80 ounces of water per day. If you exercise you should drink another eight ounce glass of water for every 20 minutes you are active. (1)

According to this rule I should be drinking 60 oz. of water per day plus an additional 24 oz on the days I workout. That's 84oz! Here's a little more math for you.

  • 32 fl oz. = 1 qt
  • 1 qt is just shy of 1 L
  • So 84 oz divided by 32 oz = 2.625 qt

That means each day I should be drinking about 2 1/2 liters of water!

Why is water so vital?

Water is your body's principal chemical component, making up, on average, 60 percent of your body weight. Every system in your body depends on water. For example, water flushes toxins out of vital organs, carries nutrients to your cells and provides a moist environment for ear, nose and throat tissues. (2) Blood is mostly water, and your muscles, lungs, and brain all contain a lot of water. Your body needs water to regulate body temperature and to provide the means for nutrients to travel to all your organs. Water also transports oxygen to your cells, removes waste, and protects your joints and organs. (1)

Lack of water can lead to dehydration, a condition that occurs when you don't have enough water in your body to carry out normal functions. Even mild dehydration can drain your energy and make you tired.

Is is possible to drink too much water (fluid)? YES!!! Though uncommon, it is possible to drink too much water. When your kidneys are unable to excrete the excess water, the electrolyte (mineral) content of the blood is diluted, resulting in low sodium levels in the blood, a condition called hyponatremia. Endurance athletes, such as marathon runners, who drink large amounts of water are at higher risk of hyponatremia. In general, though, drinking too much water is rare in healthy adults who consume an average American diet. (2)

I've come to the conclusion that although 3 liters of water may be a bit more than I personally need, it's not as much of an overkill as I originally thought. So after these next 4 weeks of chugging H20 I should have glowing skin, a really efficient waste removal system, a great highway for my nutrients to travel, and 1 less excuse to be "too tired."


1- Jegtvig Shereen. "Drinking Water to Maintain Good Health." 2007, March;

2- Mayo Clinic Staff. "Nutrition and healthy Eating, Water: How much should you drink every day?" 2008, April;

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