Water & Weight Loss

Sam Stephens

November 2019

How hydration can affect our body composition and weight loss progress.

Many of you will put on a few pounds this holiday season and that’s OK. The world won’t end if the scale shows a slightly higher number than it did before. Enjoy the time you have with your friends and family and try to make smart dietary decisions. This post isn’t focused on preaching about portion sizes and food choices – you should already be mindful of those things. Instead, let’s talk about the easiest behavior modification you can make to help ensure you’re able to consistently burn off those extra holiday pounds when you get back into fat loss mode – hydration. 

Drinking a glass of water won’t cause body fat to immediately disappear, but being properly hydrated can help us lose weight indirectly. 

Because a good fat loss program relies on a combination of diet, resistance training, and cardiovascular exercise, our weight loss progress relies on the effectiveness of these components. Meaning, if you can’t stick to your diet and if your workouts suck, you probably won’t see much of a change. 

So how does water help? 

Being properly hydrated can result in:

  • Lower steady state heart rate
  • Improved lactate threshold
  • Higher VO2 Max
  • Increased cognitive abilities
  • Better hormone regulation and production
  • Improved rates of protein synthesis
  • Increased heart rate and stroke volume
  • Improved CNS function
  • Improved muscular strength and endurance

All of these great benefits (plus many more) mean that we’ll consistently have the willpower to make better food choices, have the energy needed to complete our workouts, build more muscle from lifting, and burn more fat from cardiovascular exercise. Drink more water and you’ll probably see significantly more progress. 

Because side effects of dehydration can impact exercise performance with only a 1% loss in body mass from water, you may be slightly dehydrated right now and not even realize it. 

Exactly how much water should you be consuming each day? It varies. 9-12 fl oz/hr for men and 6.5-9 fl oz/hr for women are my recommendations, but it’s important to monitor your weight, urine color, and thirst. Find what’s right for you.

To read more about hydration and exercise performance, check out the hydration guide in Fitness & Nutrition Programming for Beginners.

Interested in chatting about water? Send me an email!