We’ve all heard the “8-glass rule” about water intake. Guess what: New research indicates that this rule is now obsolete and inaccurate. After all, that rule only applies to the “average person” with “average needs.” Everyone is different, so we’ve put together this list of hydration tips to address your specific needs:
1. Drink approximately 13 cups of water a day. Reliable sources propose this amount should be the new general rule of thumb for the “average” guy. It may seem like a lot, but remember that fruits and veggies — along with other healthy foods — contain water that can count toward this goal. Check out “9 Healthy Eating Tips for Men” for more great nutrition advice.
2. Take climate into account. If you live in a warm climate, at a high altitude or in a place where dry air is the norm, you need more water since you lose water faster. With this crazy heat wave affecting the U.S. right now, proper hydration is especially crucial – heat stroke is no fun. “Protect Your Skin from Sun Damage” has some great tips to help keep your skin healthy while outdoors.
3. Before a workout, drink 1-2 cups of water. Even a 10% loss of water in your body can affect athletic performance. When you’re dehydrated, your blood gets thicker and your heart must work harder to keep muscles hydrated and fed with glycogen and oxygen. “Common Men’s Nutrition & Skincare Mistakes” lists some big mistakes a lot of guys make when it comes to nutrition, fitness and skin care.
4. Drink 1 pint of water for every pound you lost after a workout. Water weight is the term used to describe the weight loss immediately following exercise. Let’s say you lost 2 pounds after a long run. Replenish with 2 pints of water or a sports drink.
5. During longer workouts, drink 1 cup of water every 20 minutes. Even if you don’t feel thirsty, your body has lost water and needs fluids to avoid dehydration and prevent decreased athletic performance.
6. Your urine is a good indicator of your hydration levels. Your urine’s color can reveal whether you need more water. If it’s light yellow, you’re OK. If it’s a deep, darker shade, you should drink more. Frequency is also important: You should be urinating several times a day.
7. Don’t drink too much water. Although rare, it is possible to overdose on water. This typically happens to people who sweat profusely and drink a lot of water without taking in other nutrients. To avoid this, alternate between water and a sports drink; the latter contains electrolytes such as sodium and potassium.
8. Caffeine doesn’t necessarily dehydrate you. Caffeine is known for its diuretic effect (aka making you pee more), but your body gets accustomed to it. So if you usually consume caffeine, the diuretic effect is negligible. “The Benefits of Green Tea for Men” explains why you should opt for green tea instead of coffee for your caffeine fix.
9. On a high-protein diet? Drink more water. If you’re taking a lot of nutritional protein (e.g. whey protein powders), it’s recommended you follow up with sufficient water. Protein digestion requires water, and some protein powders pack a lot of this nutrient. “10 Quick Tips to Build Muscle” will help you increase lean muscle mass.